Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh Brother!

Did you hear that George Obama, the President's half brother, was arrested for possession of Marijuana in Kenya? True.

I can just imagine what's going on at the White House this afternoon.

BHO: Rahm, get me Napolitano. I want to know how we can get George into the United States ASAP.
Rahm: Why's that, Mr. President?
BHO: They are trampling on his rights over in Kenya. If we have him here he can live the American Dream with my aunt.
Rahm: Well, I'm not sure we can get him a visa without appearing to play favorites.
BHO: George don't need no stinking papers. Who's gonna pick him out among 20 million?
Rahm: But someone might pick him up to get even with you.
BHO: So what. We'll get him a judge over at BIA to rule him a refugee. And if that doesn't work, we'll get him another BIA judge.
Rahm: Right you are, Mr. President. I'll call Janet now.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A new oath of office

I understand that Obama has ordered a new oath of office for members of Congress. It goes like this:

"I, (state your full name), do solemnly swear that I will listen to NPR, only NPR, and nothing but NPR, so help me God."

How else can they hear the truth?

Background here:

Mr. President, you can stop campaigning now.

The e-President

Obama has been known as the President of a new generation of Americans. He blogs, owns a Blackberry, sends text messages to the phones of his adoring supporters...

He even wants to grease up the Internet for all Americans.

And he invites ideas and dialogue with Americans in his "transparent and open" form of government.

What a breath of fresh air.

Well maybe not. If you want to send him an e-mail you go to "Contact us" on the website.

His e-mail contact categories (in order) are:
*I have a policy question
*I have a non-policy question
*I have a comment, no response necessary

So if you dutifully fill in the required blanks and begin typing about your problem, you are limited to 500 CHARACTERS of comment.

His 500 CHARACTER inaugural address would have been:
My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amid...

His entire address was 2,401 words, 13,313 characters including spaces, 36 paragraphs, and 206 lines.

It all reminds me a bit of the Land of Oz doorkeeper (and Wizard) who came to the door and said, "Orders are, nobody can see the great Oz. Not nobody, not no how." They knocked again and he came back to say, "The Wizard says, Go away!"

In fact, The Wizard of Oz can be quite entertaining when you look at OZ as government.

As an unknown girl, she deserves no service. Only when recognized as Dorothy who killed the witch does her prospect of an audience brighten.

Later Dorothy gets his attention by crying. (The first bleeding heart liberal?)

She bows to him as the "small and meek" and he bellows back that "The great and powerful OZ knows why you have come."

They do as he orders and come back with the broom only to be told "I'll have to give the matter a little thought. Go away and come back tomorrow."

And lastly, when he is exposed as a fraud, he defends himself: "Oh no, my dear. I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad wizard"

So, how did you approach the "rich, privileged, and elite" George Bush? Well, you sent an e-mail of whatever length you wanted to

Things have changed.

Update: Here it is 2/26/09 and I had occasion to send an e-mail to the president. The 500 character limit has been changed. It is now 5,000 characters. Good for him!

You couldn't afford...

...the free publicity Illinois received yesterday.

Imagine it. Every news outlet in the country had Blago on the 10 o'clock. And then along came Nightline with Drew Peterson talking about his soon-to-be fifth wife

(FYI, Peterson and Blago BOTH consulted the same PR firm. True story.)

I wonder how many people turned to their spouses and said, "You know honey, the economy stinks here in _______. What do you say we pack up and move to Illinois?"

Illinois Tourism is hard at work on a new brochure featuring:
The Chicago Fire
Valentine's Day Masacre
The '68 Democratic convention
John Wayne Gacy
Catholic priest scandals
Gov Ryan in jail
Gov Blago removed from office
Drew "Fifth-time's-a-charm" Peterson

They are making a renewed effort to find the body of Jimmy Hoffa somewhere in Illinois.

The new slogan? "It happened here"

Update: Too late, folks. Christina Raines, the 24-year-old fiancee of Drew Peterson has moved out. But Drew is still around for those who can't get enough of him.

Nicknames for the former Gov

I scanned the reader comments on the Daily Herald for the past week and came up with a list of the names people used when refering to Rod Blagojevich. Aside from one fellow who called him a "tool", here are the others I spotted:
Big Head
Pay Rod
Big Hair
Mr. B
POS Blago
Boy big hair
Blow Rod
Blowmyhorn (when he launched his PR blitz)

It looks like SNL, Leno, and Letterman have some competition.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ding Dong...

...Blago's gone.
The Illinois Senate voted 59-0 to remove Gov Rod R Blagojevich from office.
they also voted 59-0 to ban him from holding public office in Illinois ever again.

Pat Quinn is sworn in to replace him and on we go.

Blago appeared in Springfield today and made a 45 minute statement but did not testify and did not take questions.

I am pleasantly surprised that...
They acted swiftly
They acted unanimously

So, we move on. Hopefully this example will slow down the pay-to-play.

Chamber of Commerce

The Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce showed up at the City Council meeting last night to encourage job skill assessments and training. They asked the council to get behind the WorkKeys career tool.

Let’s see, what can the Chamber of Commerce do to help Americans get jobs?

Well, the US Chamber of Commerce is soundly in favor of workers from other countries, that’s for sure.

Their position includes:
*Amnesty for illegals working in the United States now
*Expansion of the Guest Worker program
*Expansion of visas for professional people
*Elimination of the E-Verify program for screening out illegals looking for work
*Streamlined entry of workers at the border
*Streamlined entry of foreign goods
*Expansion of seasonal work permits for foreigners

Read it and weep:

Do they realize that their obvious protection of unscrupulous employers who hire illegals IS the problem?

*It is at the heart of the lack of youth jobs, which puts kids out on the street corners and stifles their learning the work ethic.

*It is at the heart of low-skilled, able-bodied people on welfare.

*It is at the heart of hourly pay far below a living wage.

*It is at the heart of worker safety problems.

*It is at the heart of the lack of employee benefits.

You see, the illegals go head-to-head with our most vulnerable populations, and the Chamber of Commerce is not only defending those who hire illegals but encouraging more of the same.

Not to mention their efforts to throw professional people out of work with their support of the H-1B, L-1, and EB visas. Foreign programmers and engineers are willing to work for much less than an American with the same qualifications. (Let's not fool ourselves into believing that the certification programs actually work. There ARE unemployed Americans who could do those jobs, but it will cost the employers more in salaries and benefits.)

If I were the mayor I would have thrown them out of the meeting. Instead they were all smiles pretending none of this exists.

Shame on the Chamber and shame on the City Fathers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The pool is officially OPEN

I just read an article about President Obama's Aunt Zeituni Onyango. See the "Parting gift" post below for the shenanigans of the Bush administration right before the election.

Well, America's First Aunt has been classified by Immigration as a Fugitive Absconder, which means she has been through all the immigration hearings and lost her case. She was ordered deported FOUR YEARS AGO.

But like 585,000 other people she defied the order to leave the country, thus making her officially a fugitive.

Even the invitation to report for deportation without penalty didn't entice her to come forward. You remember, the Operation: Scheduled Departure campaign last summer.

Auntie Zeituni's deportation was put on hold in November and NOW she's getting a new hearing. Imagine that.

Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if she qualifies for a new hearing, so should everyone else on the list. That's the fair thing to do, right?

This is one change in our new America that I can't believe in. In fact, it looks very much like politics as usual to me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Parting gift - Bush

As if George W. Bush hadn't done enough for this country, we learned today that he made illegal aliens with deportation orders a protected class. That's right, fugitive absconders who failed to report for deportation were granted special privileges in October of 2008.

The protection came in the form of "high-level approval" required before an ICE agent could arrest a fugitive.

So much for collateral arrests. It was like the 585,000 people running loose with outstanding deportation orders were suddenly granted amnesty.

Why would they do that? To protect Obama's aunt who failed to leave the country. And anyone else connected with the campaign who might have foreign skeletons in their closets.

The coup de grace of the whole affair is that the government sat on the freedom of information request for TWO MONTHS so it wouldn't spoil the election hype.

The more I read about Bush and the election, the more I'm convinced the GOP is lost. Bush actually helped Obama get elected.

The best quote from the AP:
"Despite the deportation order, Onyango traveled to Washington last week for her nephew's inauguration. News organizations observed her attending an inaugural ball at Washington's Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, a historic luxury hotel, with her immigration lawyer, Margaret Wong."

Article here:

Preacher trouble

It's interesting to follow the spiritual life of the president.

For years he attended Jeremiah Wright's church.

Then a sample of Wright's sermons hit the Internet.

Obama ignored the issue for a long time but on March 18, 2008 he gave his famous speech on discrimination in America. At that time he made it clear he was not going to turn his back on Pastor Wright.

But that wasn't enough. I think that would have been the end of it if Wright had just disappeared into the woodwork. But he didn't.

Finally in May 2008 Obama threw in the towel on that church.

At about the same time Father Pfleger, a catholic priest, delivered a sermon at Wright's church. Pfleger blasted Hillary Clinton and characterized her as feeling "entitled" to the presidency.
Obama denounced that statement as well.

Then Rev. Jesse Jackson told the world on an open mic that he wanted to emasculate candidate Obama for killing his trade, speaking for black victims.

Then came the election victory. We knew all things Obama. We had photos of him buying a sandwich at a deli or getting a haircut. We learned where his suits came from and just about everything he did.

But no mention of his church attendance during the transition. He said he didn't want to disrupt a congregation like he did Wright's Trinity UCC.

Then came Rev. Rick Warren. How could he pick a man who supports traditional marriage to give the inaugural invocation? The gays were up in arms over that one.

On the other end of the teeter-totter was the benediction given by Rev. Joseph Lowery where he gets a laugh at the expense of Asians and whites.

The next morning Obama gets up and goes to church. The conservative Christians (who didn't vote for him) were pleasantly surprised. The many Baptists who DID vote for him were pleased as well.

But within hours our president would sign his name to the death warrant for thousands of additional fetuses. He will be remembered for the fact that in the first few hours of his presidency he signed orders guaranteeing the rights of terrorists in custody and denying the rights of the unborn.

We also learned that he does a good job of keeping his eyes CLOSED during the prayer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nouveaux riches

It seems the Obamas started out a little badge-heavy.

First, the First Lady takes a swipe at the company marketing the dolls that "coincidentally" have the same names as her daughters. Perhaps offense is taken at opportunists who have used the children to their advantage. I wonder how many people they left in their wake who would call them opportunists.

Then the President fired optical daggers at a reporter who dared ask him a question when it was clearly a time for casual conversation with his friends in the media. I guess that fellow was unaware of Obama’s proven ability to shun certain media outlets. He followed up with clear instructions that there were times for asking questions and times to just hang out.

I understand he used those same icy stares on Biden when his humor failed the Obama test. (Note to self: Do not joke about swearing in.)

The Obamas have a lot to learn. Let’s hope they can at least be humble enough to recognize it rather than take it out on the commoners.

Blago update

For those of you who don't live in Illinois and maybe CARE about the life of Rod Blagojevich, here's an update.

The state House voted to impeach Blago a couple of weeks ago as you know. Impeach means to formally accuse, nothing more.

The Illinois Senate now must weigh the accusations and decide if they warrant his removal from office. Like Bill Clinton, you can be impeached a still remain in office if the senate says the evidence isn't strong enough.

So, everyone is back from the celebration in Washington and they are set to begin the "trial" on Monday.

And Blago has cranked up the victim machine at full power. It started with his lawyers announcing a couple of days ago that they would not represent him in Springfield because it wasn't a fair fight. (That and the money involved in defending him, I suppose.)

Then yesterday Blago himself told reporters that the process wasn't fair and would violate his Constitutional rights so he was just going to stay home and let the kangaroo court go on without him.

Today he told reporters much the same thing at his home while he was out running.

Then he called a full-blown press conference this afternoon to reiterate the unfairness of it all. He laid it on thick, telling us that if the system can deny him due process then it could do the same to 12 million Illinois citizens. (What he didn't say was that a criminal trial would allow us to call witnesses, present evidence, explain what happened...all the rights we have. This trial is not a criminal one. The Illinois Senate does not have the right to imprison Blago or impose fines. Their only remedy here is to remove him from office. Does he think we're dopes to fall for the flawed analogy? Now, when the feds haul him into court to answer the corruption charges THEN he'll have all the rights of a citizen charged with committing a criminal act.)

He said if he had trial rights he would be able to call Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett as witness. Both are at the White House now which I assume was calculated to legitimize them as character witnesses, though no one is quite sure what they would say if called to testify. (I'm thinking about the timing of all this; like a good Dem Rod waits until after the inaugural balls are over before he starts dropping names and throwing a tantrum.)

Probably a lot of Rahm's and Valerie's statements would begin with the words, "On the advice of counsel...." I'm sure our state senators all have a copy of that report from Greg Craig, Obama's lawyer, on what they know about it.

Blago then went on with this sappy story about a cowboy wrongfully accused of stealing a horse and his rights. I think he needs some professional help.

To prove his "testicular virility" the gov then begged for help from newspaper editors in Illinois by telling them that the Chicago Tribune stands for justice. It seems to me that the Chicago Tribune was the victim of Blago's alleged influence peddling. Even Mrs. Blago (who just lost her job with a local foundation) was in the act in that one, calling the Trib names and suggesting that if they wanted help selling Wrigley they'd better silence the editor criticizing her husband. Not a very bright tactic on his part mentioning the Tribune, but it WAS brave.

So on the one hand Blago is claiming a lack of fairness because he can't tell his own story and on the other hand he tells us he's staying home instead of attending the proceedings. It seems to me he can tell his own story.

The good news is that if Blago doesn't show up the state senate believes they can wrap it up in a week.

Every senator in Illinois has to know they are under a microscope here. If they cave to the political pressure, they will be held accountable at election time. We are a national embarrassment and their actions can either make it worse or show some signs of hope.

Update: Oh yeah, you'll like this. Blago is saying that the only reason the state senate wants to get rid of him is so they can raise taxes. Soooo, if you want to keep taxes low, make sure he doesn't get removed from office. (Except, Rod was the one wanting to stick it to business with the inventory tax.)

And Genson, Blago's lead attorney, just resigned because the man won't listen to his advice. Wow.

And Daley says his former pal is a nut!

A loaded question

“Do you still beat your wife?”

United States Representative Bill Foster had a survey in his January 15, 2009 e-mail to constituents. It read:

What health care related issue should Congress work on next?

_Reforming health care so that every American has at least a basic level of health care

_Working to lower prescription drug costs

_Ensuring that our Veterans have quality health care and accessible health care facilities

_All of the Above

Foster is a highly educated man. He’s a scientist and businessman. I am quite disappointed in the obvious pandering of this survey. Exactly what answer does someone select if he believes there should be LESS government in health care, that somehow Washington will only make things worse by attempting to reform it?

The answer is that special interests have derailed the voice of the people and Foster has quickly joined the pack of politicians who don’t care that they have disenfranchised us.

But it hardly matters. The survey is little more than a way to harvest e-mail addresses to continue with his propaganda. His disclaimer at the bottom reads:
“*By answering this survey, you are subscribing to my newsletter.”

I’ve watched Foster’s transformation from citizen to politician. Candidate Foster would not have acted so cheaply. He was not a man of rhetoric a year ago. They got to him.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

That wasn't very inclusive

Whatever happened to the liberal view that everyone is welcome at the table?

Read this:
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right."

It sounds like someone is taking a swipe at white people for being evil.

Where's that quote come from? From the lips of Reverend Joseph Lowery, the prayer heard 'round the world at the conclusion of the swearing in ceremony of President Obama.

There's a video of it. Just as Lowery was making his jokes about the races the camera panned to Obama and he was enjoying it. After the Amens he embraced Rev. Lowery with hugs and smiles.

Here's the video:

Could this signal the beginning of the administration of comeuppance?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A white conservative's take

As Obama takes the oath, I have a few comments.

The entire campaign/transition feels like spam to me…unwanted ads with deceptive claims. It’s got the feel of a rigged talent contest. I can’t say that McCain was one bit more forthright. Both candidacies were about glitz and sound bites and promises.

I suppose it is a byproduct of the caliber of the electorate. You can’t win by presenting America with a coherent business plan. Doing so will gain you a few votes but lose the interest of the masses.

What appeals to us is the old sales pitch. Promises, lots of color and music, and celebrity endorsements. And that is exactly what we got.

Even the Obama product is a deception. He’s bi-racial at best and perhaps more Arab-American than African-American.

But as one blogger noted, “Though Obama's racial/ethnic background is in and of itself irrelevant, it says a great deal about the man when viewed in the context of what he wants people to believe about him. Since entering politics, Obama has strenuously worked to identify himself as an "African American," i.e. as a black man. On what basis, though, does he establish this identity? … Culturally, he is white, having been raised in a white family and having known neither his father nor his father's cultural traditions. Socio-economically, he is among the wealthiest and most privileged 0.1% of the U.S. population. Educationally, he's attended -- courtesy of affirmative action -- the finest institutions of higher learning in the country. Obama doesn't even share with the vast majority of American blacks the "legacy of racism." He was born in the post civil rights era and his father was a foreigner, so neither he nor any of his ancestors suffered any racial discrimination. … Obama, then, has shared not at all in any aspect of the "black experience" as it has come to be defined in America, yet by all accounts he's poised to be the "first black President of the United States." How has this come to pass?

“Obama, it must be understood, specifically chose to style himself an "African American" as a matter of calculation, as his fastest, surest path to political advancement. That's why he went to Chicago. That's why he joined that racist church. That's why he chose to represent poor black constituencies. Being accepted into the urban black community, he became a big (political) fish in a small pond, a formidable candidate for elective offices far beyond his meager experience. Years later, this man who has accomplished and who has been denied absolutely nothing in life has perfected this phony image, having mastered the rhetoric of personal victimhood. Obama would never wear the American flag on his lapel, but he wears his adopted black identity on his sleeve every day. It serves as his ticket to entitlement as well as his shield against all criticism.”

Richard Cohen expressed concern over Obama’s embellished back story in March of 2007. But Barack’s story, laced with accounts of discrimination leveled against him, was never seriously questioned for accuracy.

It is all part-and-parcel of the Obama package, the aura, the mystique…and voters bought the story. They overlooked reality and bought the message.

But even now he talks about racism as a problem we need to deal with.

From Philadelphia in March of 2008:
“But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.”

“The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.”

And again from Philly, where he began his Triumphal Entry into the Unholy City on January 17, 2009:
“And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed. What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels.”

What concerns me is that he ties it all to health care, housing and jobs.

Racism in health care? Well, we have Medicaid for the poor and free Emergency Room care for the poorest of the poor. To be sure, some hospitals in the ghettos have closed their doors as a result of too much charity care. But how much more can we afford to do as a nation?

Here is the breakdown of in-patient revenue for Sherman Hospital in Elgin in 2007:
Medicare 37.1%
Medicaid 18.4%
Private Insurance 40.4%
Private Pay 4.1%
Charity Care amount $1,564,086

And Provena St Joseph’s:
Medicare 57.5%
Medicaid 13.1%
Private Insurance 26.8%
Private Pay 2.7%
Charity Care amount $1,994,456

And Rush/Copley in Aurora:
Medicare 26.9%
Medicaid 19.6%
Other Public 18.4%
Private Insurance 26.6%
Private Pay 8.6%
Charity Care amount $2,957,000


So, we can see that the government is already a major player in health care in the United States. Just exactly where will this fine-sounding rhetoric lead?

As for housing, one need look no further than the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to see that government programs to put the poor and marginalized in homes has not only resulted in foreclosure but sent the credit market in general into chaos.

Jobs for minorities and unskilled? Not one federal candidate in Illinois was willing to address the FACT that illegal aliens and high levels of third world immigrants have had a direct negative impact on wages, benefits, safety, and availability of jobs for American citizens. And the hardest hit are those same African-Americans who voted for Obama!

I fear that Obama’s plans for equality will play well in the streets of the United States but will, in practice, lead to more money spent and more of the same results.

Obama came close to revealing himself during his whistle-stop grand entrance when he said that “our politics had grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced.”

My greatest fear is that what he means is that our government has “grown too small for the scale of the challenges we faced.” Our only recourse then is to employ more people to work for the government (which is part of his back-to-work strategy) and print more worthless money. Frankly, that solution doesn’t appeal to me.

The smoke-filled room

It seems the sleazy American tradition of backroom deals by kingmakers is alive and well in the Obama administration.

On Oprah no less, Jill Biden let it slip that Joe was offered the choice between Vice President and Secretary of State. The media winked as though she had revealed that Biden has a tattoo on his rump, and went on with wall-to-wall coverage of the coronation.

But think about what she said.

That deal had to be made before the ticket was even announced. It certainly wasn’t a conversation held after November 4th.

Think about the firestorm that would have ensued had the target been Dick Cheney instead of Joe Biden. “Why, look at another example of those greedy GOP power brokers…blah…blah…blah.”

And listen to damage control kicking in, like it did when Obama-ites were implicated in the Blago scandal.

“To be clear, President-elect Obama offered Vice President-elect Biden one job only -- to be his running mate. And the Vice President-elect was thrilled to accept the offer.” (From Biden’s spokesman, Elizabeth Alexander.)

It appears that change really isn’t all that different. You line up your clout, make deals with other powerful people like the Clintons and Biden, mix in a few friends, and tell the public things are different in Washington now. Yeah, right.

What has changed in the smoke-filled room is that Obama is the only one smoking.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cactus 1549

I've got some random thoughts about the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River.
1- Quick thinking. They didn't have much altitude to work with. They wanted to land on concrete but that wasn't an option.
2- Had it been a military craft the crew most certainly would have ejected. It was that kind of event. The entire effort was for human life.
3- The only omitted step was closing up the vents to allow the plane to float longer. Of course, closing the vents may have changed the attitude of the craft in the water. As it turned out, she floated fine with the vents open.
4- It amazes me that the wings didn't get ripped off. When that happens you end up sideways with holes in the fuselage.
5- She was carrying enough fuel to fly at least 600 miles.
6- Sullenberger's comments during the crisis were amazing. No sense of panic. All business. Clear-headed.
7- Talk about a perfect landing. The flight attendants didn't even realize they were in the water. And the position was perfect for the water taxis and Coast Guard to surround the plane.
8- A flight attendant stopped a passenger who wanted to open the air stairs, preventing a rather swift trip to the bottom of the Hudson, 50 feet deep at that point.
9- I can't imagine being a passenger and standing out on the wing, up to my knees in cold water. (Don't they have enough raft capacity for everyone?)
10- How many dopes wanted to go back inside for their I-pod in the seat pocket?
11- No one will ever hear this story and reply, "That's nothin', I once....."

A bit of GOOD NEWS

This a depressing time for conservatives. But I offer this to cheer you up:

Ayers denied entry into Canada
January 19, 2009 1:00 PM
Chicago Tribune
Toronto educators canceled a series of lectures and meetings featuring Williams Ayers today after Canadian border officers Sunday night refused to allow the Chicago resident and professor to leave the airport in Toronto.

Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and former member of the Weather Underground, found his 1960s radical past briefly at the center of the 2008 presidential election.

But he is well-regarded among urban educators and had been scheduled to deliver lectures and interviews today on education initiatives for marginalized students, said Jeffrey Kugler, executive director of the Centre for Urban Schooling at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

"We were at the airport waiting to pick Bill up. He just never came out, really," Kugler said.
After Ayers' flight landed at 6 p.m., Kugler said he and an attorney waited until 10:30 p.m. before officials from the Canadian Border Services Agency told them that Ayers had been put back onto a plane to Chicago.

Officials with the Canadian government referred questions on the matter to the Canadian Border Services Agency. Ayers, back in Chicago, did not respond to interview requests.
Kugler said the Centre for Urban Schooling was left scrambling to cancel a busy day of appointments for Ayers. He had been scheduled to deliver a lecture at an inner-city teacher education program, to speak with principals and senior staff from the Toronto District School Board, to visit a classroom and to talk with community youth workers. Later, radio and television interviews were scheduled, followed by an evening lecture, Kugler said.

"Everything was scrapped," Kugler said. "We're going to try it again for sure. But first he's going to find out more about what the issue is that might be stopping him."

Ayers was an anti-war activist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and joined the Weathermen, which later became the Weather Underground. The group set off bombs at government buildings, and Ayers in his 2001 book Fugitive Days said he participated, but never hurt anyone.
The federal government dropped charges against him in 1973. Ayers later became a noted educator and in 1997 was named Chicago citizen of the year.

When president-elect Barack Obama began his first state senate bid in the mid-'90s, he visited Ayers' home for a meeting. Ayers and Obama later worked together on school reform issues.
During the election, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John McCain pointed out the connection and characterized Ayers as "an unrepentant terrorist."

Personal note:
I recall the day trip I took to Canada back in 1998. I didn't have my passport with me and was traveling on my Drivers License. The border agent at the airport grilled me about my business for about five minutes then let me pass. I spent more time with him than I did at border posts in Japan, China, or Brazil.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You're no Abraham Lincoln

The nation is all agog at Obama’s whistle-stop grand entrance, “Just like Abraham Lincoln.” Well, not exactly. Lincoln did not arrive in Washington a week earlier, settle his family, attend meetings, then STAGE A GRAND ENTRANCE into Washington.

You see, unlike Obama, Lincoln was not full of himself. In fact, Lincoln was humble and not at all sure of his ability to bring the country together in the midst of a moral and economic crisis.

Abe Lincoln was just trying to get to Washington.

But this isn’t Obama’s first publicity stunt. We all recall his European tour…and his giant victory party in Chicago. No sir, this is one president who is sure that America wants to celebrate with him that they were savvy enough to elect him as president.

But it is all hype, all hollow.

For example, Obama walked a day in the shoes of a union member. (That’s the SEIU, the same union caught on tape negotiating with Blago for Valerie Jarrett.)

Check out these photos of the event.

Here we have Obama doing the laundry, except the washing machine is EMPTY. And here he is moping the floor. Do you see any soap? Or any water for that matter? No. If photo ops and concerts can cure America’s ills, then we’ve got a winner. But if we need someone who can be an executive and preside over a government that is too big and too involved in our lives, then maybe not so much.

I fear that his plans are to bluff his way through, to get us all feeling good and running up the credit cards again. And this attitude, based on fantasy, will create a deeper crisis and a more traumatic fall.

Clinton had his dot-com. Bush had his Fannie Mae. In the end they were the result of pretending to have prosperity without a viable business plan. Reality always catches up with us.

And from what I can see, Obama and reality are total strangers.

A different kind of bird strike

Donna Dunnings is the CFO for Cook County Illinois. Yes, the county that leads the nation in sales taxes. (It’s a tough competition, but someone has to be NUMBER ONE.)

Donna is a cousin of county board president Todd Stroger.

So, Donna was just arriving at a budget meeting on Thursday, spotted a colleague by the name of Alexis Herrera, and fired off a one-finger salute in her direction. You know, the Milwaukee Skyline. The bird. In fact, the Chicago Sun-Times thinks it ought to be the official bird of Cook County.

Donna is quoted thus: "It was a joke. I was teasing with a former employee. We tease all the time. If someone thinks it's more than that, f--- 'em."

Some reporters reminded her that she was just having a heated discussion with Herrera in the hallway about the Sheriff’s Department budget. But Dunnings said it was just a tease.

Then she tells reporters: "As much as people try to make me an ogre, I'm not that at all. I just want best the for administration and county of Cook. They can say what they want about me. I bust my a-- in this job. ... Write what you want. I don't care anymore."

She doesn’t seem very professional to me. Maybe that’s how politicians talk. Maybe she doesn’t have to worry about professionalism because she was hired by her cousin and isn’t likely to get fired by Todd Stroger.

Stroger probably envies her ability to communicate.

And Illinois keeps electing this caliber of person to office. And they keep hiring family and friends to staff their departments. And we continue to get expensive and unprofessional results from staff. It boggles the mind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Those stubborn stains

It’s looking more like the man from Plains, Georgia has returned to Washington when you look at the new White House staff.

Just this week the press has revealed the following about Obama’s picks:
Timothy Geithner, our Treasury Secretary-elect (er, -designate) had trouble filling out the SE (Self-Employment) form on his taxes for a couple of years. You see, he was working for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the time and the payroll was so complex. Give me a break. Sure it stinks paying the employee and employer portions of the tax when you work for yourself, but either this guy isn’t as sharp with numbers as he claims to be or he’s a thief. Either way, it smells. But the Dems are willing to overlook that because he did pay it back with interest. (It is all so Clintonesque – the sin is in getting caught!)

Eric Holder. And just today they are reporting that our future Attorney General failed to mention his ties to Blagojevich on his confirmation questionnaire. To make it all even more interesting, Holder’s ties were through the Illinois’ gambling industry.

Janet Napolitano. She’s going to head up Homeland Security. It turns out that after six years the Arizona emergency plan has some gaping holes…big enough to drive a Ryder truck through, if you know what I mean.

And those tidbits are just from this week.

What about that little discrepancy in Obama’s investigation where Rahm Emanuel had undisclosed conversations with Blago on November 1st? Speaking of Rahm, is he back from his safari yet? Strange that he’d be gone for an extended period during such a busy time.

As for the good news, it appears Hillary’s appointment to Secretary of State will be approved despite the Clinton clouds and the legality of a Senator accepting such a position.

(Will she be able to say someday, like Alexander Haig, “I’m in control here in the White House”? I certainly hope not.)

Like I said at the beginning, this Keystone Kops brand of staffing is looking like the Carter days. Does Obama have a brother named Billy?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How much was lunch?

Will we ever know how much this lunch really cost America?

Date: January 12, 2009
Time: Noon
Place: Mexican Cultural Institute, Washington, DC
Menu: Tortilla Soup
Who: Presidente Felipe Calderon and President-elect Barack Obama

Just what did they discuss? Well, Obama planned to congratulate Calderon for the bloodbath of a drug war he is waging in Mexico. (Better there than here I suppose.) And he probably gave Felipe some warm and fuzzies about future US funding. The Merida initiatives were signed last year and payments have already started to flow. Bush promised a couple years of more of the same.

And I’m sure Obama is comfortable with the notion that we are going to do something about US weapons being smuggled into Mexico. Any kind of gun control resonates with the Dems.

As for NAFTA, it was likely an interesting conversation. Obama campaigned all over the place with the message that we ought to do more manufacturing here in the USA. That surely worried Calderon.

In fact, he threatened to send more illegals to the United States if NAFTA gets weakened to protect our own jobs.

Oil? Well, we have something of a Mexican Standoff (sorry!) on that issue. We need their oil and they need our refining capacity. Without us making gasoline out of their oil Mexico has a significant shortage. So, it is a win-win.

(On that note, the next time the oil companies raise our gas prices because we have a lack of refining capacity we ought to bring that up, don’t you think?)

Now, the big enchilada…amnesty/guest workers.

A Virginia professor/expert on Mexico, George Grayson, told the AP that things weren’t looking good for immigration reform. He said, "The chance of having immigration reform is like having it snow in the dessert (sic). With the unemployment rate surging in the United States and the economy expected to shrink this year, it is not a hospitable time to invite more workers into the country."

Assuming the AP really meant “desert” that would mean it is a long shot. Then again, there has already been snow in Vegas this season. And the Nevada senator from Searchlight seems to think immigration reform is a done deal this year. I’m guessing Reid will make a serious run at it in honor of Ted Kennedy.

Now, Tortilla Soup:
1/2 cup each 1/2-inch diced vegetables: yellow onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and tomato
1/2 cup roasted green chile, cut into a small dice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground comino (cumin)
2 cups Enchilada Chicken, recipe follows
6 each white corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
6 each blue corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Chopped cilantro leaves, as needed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt, as needed
1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips
Begin with a large pot. Saute the vegetables and chile briefly in about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. When the vegetables are limp, add the broth and add the garlic and cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add chicken, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile (or beforehand), fry the corn tortilla strips in 350 degree F oil for 2 minutes until crispy. Drain well on paper towels. At the Blue Corn Cafe, we always have tons of chips around so we used crushed ones for garnish on the bottom of the soup bowl...the strips are added at the top. We, of course, use white and blue corn tortillas. If for some reason the blue variety are not available where you live, I suggest you immediately draft a letter to your Congressman! Yes, you can use all white or yellow tortillas.

To finish the soup, you've got to make some slurry. Yep...this will add just a little body to the soup. With the cornstarch in a cup-sized container, mix as little cold water as possible to form a thin paste. This stuff feels and looks like...well, slurry. Bring the soup back up to a boil; stir with 1 hand and pour the slurry in slowly with the other. Continue to cook on high heat for a minute, then reduce to low. The soup will look cloudy at first but will clear up and thicken slightly. Remove from heat.

Add cilantro and lime juice. Fill 8 to 12 cups or bowls about 1/4 full of crushed tortilla chips. Ladle soup on top. Place a handful of strips on top of each and serve. This soup (without the tortillas) keeps well for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. Tortillas will also keep well for a few days if sealed well and stored at room temperature. In moist climates they may require re-crisping in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Burris?

I think I figured out why Blago chose Roland Burris as the Obama replacement in the senate.

Testicular virility.

We all know how important that is to the gov and Burris has displayed it when he met with the press yesterday to announce he would be taking his seat in Washington.

Here’s part of what he said:
“The single most important reason why I fought, to defend this appointment, was because I believed Illinois people didn't deserve to unfairly be punished again, by delaying their right to have full representation and equal voting rights at such a crucial time for our state and our nation. My motivation is to serve, was pure and had nothing to do with the scandal that preceded my appointment.

“Now, most of you all have heard me repeatedly state that I am already the junior senator-designate from the great State of Illinois. I believe that had I relinquished that title, after being legally appointed, I would have also signaled that our state had surrendered its own right to send, to Congress, a senator of our own choosing, in accordance with our laws, as protected by the United States Constitution.” (Burris Press Conference 1/12/09)

He thinks he’s the senator of OUR CHOOSING.

Now, what some people don’t know is that the Illinois Legislature had the opportunity to strip Blago of his authority to name the new senator. And they had the authority to call a special election to choose Obama’s replacement.

Now THAT would have been the way to give us “a senator of our own choosing.”

But the misfits in Springfield decided not to do that. They will pay for that mistake if voters have any memory at all.

I’ll grant you, it takes testicular virility to stand before the people of Illinois and pretend you are the people’s choice. All Burris will ever be is a senator seated under a cloud of corruption.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Concocting Camelot

We're all a bit amused that the President-elect has been so visible. He is holding press conferences almost daily and making comments about this-and-that, as though he were already in office. It is unprecedented.

Part of it is the love affair the media has had with this man. But part if it is that what Obama has sold us is perception. He's inviting America to take on a new attitude. Much like a preacher he is working us up to believe in the miracle.

It isn't far different from the way Clinton perceived the role of president. He was cheerleader-in-chief, telling us what the polls said we wanted to hear. Spend money. Ride the wave of the future in the dot-com economy.

Well, that isn't exactly the type of president we really need. And it isn't 1960 either. The news is tougher and the president's life is far more open to the public than it was during Camelot 1. There will be no sneaking Marilyn Monroe into this White House. No drugs. No nude swim parties.
And we'll see how quickly the daily appearances fall off the table once he is in office.

But if he can get us to believe we can fly, just maybe we'll get to Neverland and won't ever need to grow up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Where's Blago?

While the Illinois House was voting to impeach him, Rod was out jogging. For seven miles! Maybe he’s training for the day he gets run out of the state.
But he’s not hiding. Shortly after the vote Blago surrounded himself with common folk who have benefited from his unorthodox way of providing welfare programs. He held a press conference to extol his own virtues.

Listen to Blago, the victim:
"From the very moment of my re-election I've been engaged in a struggle with the House to get things done for people," Blagojevich said, flanked by a dozen people who he said had benefited from his programs.

"So the House's action today and the causes for the impeachment are because I've done things to fight for families who are with me here today," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich pointed out Omar Castillo, a young man who had needed a kidney transplant but lacked insurance.

"We intervened and acted in a way with legal advice around the legislature," Blagojevich said. "Omar Castillo got that surgery. . . . He's going to live a long and full and happy life. Is that an impeachable offense?"

Julie Santos, a supporter who appeared with Blagojevich, said the governor was just trying to do right by the people.

Santos, who identified herself as a patient advocate with The United Voices for United Families Campaign, said his good work should not go unrecognized.

"We want the nation to know that Gov. Blagojevich is a great humanitarian, and we're here today with a fact, a fact that this governor has helped save Latino children in this state unlike any other governor," said Santos, who spoke on behalf of Castillo and others.
(from The Chicago Tribune)

I wonder if irony ever penetrates Blago's skull. The "little people" he helps...
…Does he mean shaking down Children's Memorial Hospital?
…Does he mean failing to pay doctors in the name of the Kids First health plan?
…Or welching on debts to pharmacists?
…Or the Rezko ploy to build or not build hospitals based on graft?
He really can spread the wealth around, can't he?
Sure, these advocates line up to support him; they are on the RECEIVING end of his little games.

The latest on Roland Burris

Here's where we are on filling Obama's vacant senate seat.

Blago has named Roland Burris.
Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, has refused to sign Blago's appointment letter.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the appointment is still valid (in the eyes of the state) without White's counter-signature.
Dick Durbin now says the Senate will not accept the appointment without White's signature.

This isn't the first time state law and federal law are at odds with one another.

If you want to see Burris, watch the movie The Fugitive. Burris is the guy on the end leading the Saint Patrick's Day parade in the street scene.

The "Day-by-day" comic strip is having some fun with Harry Reid on this Burris thing. Worth a look if you can handle the bare shoulders of some of the characters.

As the state turns

Today’s update on Blagojevich.
On Friday the State House voted 114 to 1 to impeach Blago on these grounds:
1. Gov. Blagojevich plotted to auction off President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat for personal benefit.
2. Blagojevich tried to get members of the Chicago Tribune editorial board fired.
3. The governor signed a bill in exchange for a campaign contribution from the horse racing industry.
4. Blagojevich awarded a Tollway contract in exchange for campaign contributions.
5. The governor threatened to withhold reimbursements to hospitals and doctors in Illinois in exchange for campaign contributions.
6. The governor engaged in pay-to-play in making appointments, and plotted to award a state job to Ali Ata with the Illinois Finance Authority in exchange for campaign contributions.
7. The governor tried to award state contracts to Joseph Cari for campaign contributions.
8. Blagojevich attempted to exchange state permits for campaign cash.
9. The governor failed to abide by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and unlawfully expanded the FamilyCare program.
10. Blagojevich purchased additional flu vaccines without proper approval, making the sale illegal.
11. The governor attempted to import prescription drugs from Canada without consent of the Food and Drug Administration.
12. Blagojevich did not follow the appropriations process when he allocated money for the Agency Efficiency Initiative.
13. The governor violated both state and federal laws in the firing and hiring of various state employees.

Now, one rep voted “present”, a black woman who lost her seat in November (Keep in mind, this is the out-going legislature. The new one hasn’t been seated yet.) Elga Jefferies told the Chicago Tribune that she will be out of work after losing the election and that "I might go and ask him (Blagojevich) for one. I have no problem with asking." At least she’s honest about it. He’s probably happy to have someone who will talk to him.

One member was absent, Ken Dunkin. Dunkin was quoted a few days ago as saying: "There are a lot of political vendettas that are being played out right now," said Dunkin, D-Chicago. "It appears to be headed toward a political witch hunt, because there's not an indictment and there's definitely not a conviction."

The single vote against impeachment came from Milton Patterson. He said the presentation wasn’t strong enough for him. Here’s a photo of Patterson on the floor of the Illinois House in Springfield.

Impeachment means the State Senate can now hold a trial to determine Blago’s guilt (and fate). That will have to wait until after the coronation of Obama. They are scheduled to meet on January 26th but Blago will need to cooperate for them to convene.

Gee, if they get right to work they can announce their conviction on February 12th, Lincoln's 200th birthday. Wouldn't that be special?

Friday, January 9, 2009

The innocence of hope

God bless Obama for his naivete. We haven't seen such clueless innocence since Jimmy Carter landed from Plains, Georgia.

Obama immediately recognizes that government costs too much and is wasteful and has useless programs. So, he brings in Nancy Killefer. Nancy worked for the Treasury Department...can you guess when?...wait for it...during the Clinton Administration. 1997 to 2000 to be exact.

And I'm guessing it was a political job because Bush took office in January of 2001.

So why do I think Obama is naive? Well, you have your Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and General Services Administration (GSA)...and just about every federal agency has an independent inspector general.

All these folks are charged with reducing costs, evaluating effectiveness, and eliminating waste in government. So he comes to town and turns Nancy loose with her staff and her budget and her own police. He's just added to the waste in Washington and offended all the watchdogs we're already paying for.

He's acting like a rookie manager who is new on the job. He's never dealt with employees before. He thinks he's smarter than everyone else. His first message to the troops is that they are stupid and they can't be trusted.

Nice move, boss.

I wonder how long before the union calls him to complain about Nancy wanting to cut some federal jobs...union jobs.

Watch for this trick

On the radio yesterday they were talking about Blago's next move, assuming the Illinois House votes to impeach.

The Illinois Senate now has to hold a trial against Blago before he can be thrown out of office.

The trick? Blago is the one who must convene the Senate. So, what if he refuses to call them together?

One suggestion is to have the State Police haul him down to Springfield. That makes quite a photo op.

The question remains: How crazy is the gov? Will he actually refuse to call the Senate? I'm thinking he will. What does he have to lose?

Then there is the "Blagojevich 26." These elected officials blocked the recall provision long before the gov was arrested. Lots of folks are blaming them for making his removal so difficult.

They deserve to be recognized. Here they are:
Michael Bond

James Clayborne Jr.

Jacqueline Collins

John Cullerton

James DeLeo

Deanna Demuzio

William Haine

Don Harmon

Mike Jacobs

Emil Jones Jr.

Kimberly Lightford

Terry Link

Iris Martinez

James Meeks

Antonio Munoz

Michael Noland

Kwame Raoul

Heather Steans

John Sullivan

Donne Trotter

A.J. Wilhelmi

Four Democratic senators were recorded as not voting: Gary Forby, Mattie Hunter, Martin Sandoval and Louis Viverito.

Every Republican senator except one voted in favor of the measure. Republican Chris Lauzen thought it more important to attend a pension conference in Philadelphia than to vote in Springfield.

From the Chicago Tribune

I am ashamed to say that two of these blockers are fox valley Senators.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 111th

The 111th Congress is already hard at work, trying to outperform the 110th on approval ratings. And it looks like that number might actually go negative for the first time in history (single digits aren't good enough for this bunch).

Exhibit A - Roland Burris. Now that Harry and Dick have blessed the man, he can take his seat among the senators. (By the way, a good friend asked a very valid question yesterday: What constitutional authority do Reid and Durbin have for dabbling in this affair in the first place?)

Exhibit B - Caroline Kennedy.

Exhibit C - Al Franken.

Exhibit D - Feinstein and the Leon Panetta show. Obama is calling Republican Congressmen in Florida to congratulate them but can't pick up the phone to warn Feinstein about the CIA pick? I'm not sure who to blame here.

Speaking of approval ratings, what's the cumulative total in this photo?


Bush: Current 27, lowest 19

Clinton: Ending 68, lowest 36

Bush "41": Ending 56, lowest 29

Carter: Ending 34, lowest 28

Obama: 65% think he will be a good president, according to a Gallup Poll right after the election. (I will not saddle him with the low marks of the Senate in general.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What was it?

I liked it better when Congress was between sessions. Now I can see clearly what the term “Democratic-controlled Senate” really means.

The first signs were encouraging. Almost in unison they were saying, “There is no way we’re going to allow Roland Burris to take Obama’s seat.”

Now it appears he’ll be welcomed with open arms. I love the photo of Reid, Durbin, and Burris all having a nice laugh. They are enjoying themselves, aren't they?

What was it that turned the tide? Was it Bobby Rush (bomb-making pal of Bill Ayers) who said only racists would block Burris from taking his seat?

Was it the fact that Jesse White was starting to cave about signing his certificate because everyone was making him out to be the bad guy? (Can you call White a black-on-black racist? I don’t think so.)

Was it simply an attempt by the Democrat party to turn off this embarrassing spotlight so it doesn’t ruin the coronation on January 20th?

Whatever it is, I miss the Republicans in Washington. If nothing else they kept the Democrats from doing everything they please. And the Dems have nothing but green lights for the next two years at least. Yikes!

Obama's CIA

I suppose we are all wondering about Leon Panetta's qualifications to head up the CIA. From the sound clip I heard yesterday he's a bit confused himself.

It sounded like he got the script from Caroline Kennedy!

But when you think about it Leon's had all sorts of experience in the covert and clandestine. After all, he was Bill Clinton's chief of staff for two and a half years!

Seriously, what is going on?

A couple of possibilities:
Hillary has Obama by the short hairs over something and is dictating these positions, especially where they interface with the SOS. (Frankly, that's hard to imagine but the Clinton's play the game very well.)

Another possibility is that we are on the Jimmy Carter path again. Human rights trump intelligence. Panetta's role is to dismantle the CIA or at least run it like a scout troop. Maybe. I hope not. The stakes are higher now than they were in 1977. Some of Obama's chatter about Gitmo support this idea. This goes beyond just dismantling the rendition program, and Leon knows that Clinton was more wicked than Bush when it came to torture. We just never had video before.

Then again, it could be just a weird call by Obama, like the TV doctor Gupta as surgeon general. (What did you expect from the American Idol election winner?)

One thing is clear; Obama didn't pick a strong CIA advocate. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A fallen hero

I just read that on Christmas Eve Samuel Huntington passed away.

Huntington was a Harvard professor who was concerned about the identity of the United States amid globalism and multiculturalism.

His premise was that it is OK to be something other than a civilized Christian and still live here, but if you don’t adopt the norms of western civilization over time our culture will deteriorate to the point where we no longer HAVE a western civilization.

He warned that we will lose the very things that make America great by embracing and accommodating every other foreign interest walking down the street.

And for that point of view he was labeled a nativist.

Surely, I fail at conveying his message but hopefully I have piqued your interest in the man and his work.

Read more at:

He spoke of three possible futures for America:
1) Cosmopolitan – We lose our identity to globalization
2) Imperial – We spread our values to the rest of the world
3) National – We rebuild a strong national identity based on an unashamed adherence to western culture and values.

Gone is a man who understands what is happening and was able to articulate it, even if people refused to listen.

Photo licensed under Creative Commons.

Green guilt

Motorola will introduce the "Moto W233 Renew" at the CES in Las Vegas this week.

It is made from recycled water bottles.

All of you who feel guilty about your bottled water habit can now do penance by purchasing a phone.

Great. Does it come with an Al Gore ringtone?

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's in the cards

…or the tea leaves…or the crystal ball…or whatever it is that warlocks use to see into the future.

Here is a 2009 prediction of Professor Antonio Vazquez Alba of Mexico City. He’s the brujo mayor or grand warlock of Mexico.

He says that U S troops will pull out of Iraq and be posted at the Mexican border to invade Mexico and try to take additional land.

He also says Britney Spears is on a roll.

Last year he said Fidel Castro and Britney would die and that Hillary would win the White House.

(Some profs will do anything to get published.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Obama didn't see that one coming

Welcome to the NFL Mr. President-elect. After all your careful vetting this one got by you.

Bill Richardson has to stay after school in New Mexico because there’s an indictment brewing that he might have been the bully stealing lunch money.

You see, one of his donors also happens to hold a bunch of New Mexico municipal bonds and the feds want to look into that. (For Blago, he was partial to concrete. Hit up the cement contractors then build another lane on the tollway.)

So Bill won’t be sitting at the big table as Secretary of Commerce.

What a shame. He came so well recommended.

Listen to what Ruben Navarrette said about Bill Richardson on December 5th as he was complaining about the lack of Latino representation in the Obama cabinet and grousing that Richardson wasn’t chosen as Secretary of State:
You would have thought Bill Richardson was a shoo-in for that job, with his gold-plated resume: Seven-term member of Congress; special envoy to North Korea, Iraq, Cuba and Sudan; U.N. ambassador; energy secretary; New Mexico governor and five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering cease-fires and negotiating the release of hostages. What a slacker. I'm surprised Richardson never got around to securing peace in the Middle East.

Let's not forget that Richardson is the highest-ranking Latino official in the country, and that Latinos supported Obama over John McCain by a margin of more than 2-to-1 and helped the Democrat win four battleground states.

Let's not forget that Richardson, a former member of the Clinton Cabinet, burned his bridges to the Little Rock Mafia by endorsing Obama in the primary over Hillary Clinton. CNN contributor James Carville likened Richardson to Judas.

Let's not forget that Richardson had the blessing of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, an association of 26 national and regional Hispanic civil rights and public policy organizations whose leaders sent a letter to President-elect Obama recommending Richardson for secretary of state.”

Back to square one for Commerce. But Richardson goes back to being Governor of New Mexico. (It is hard to get rid of governors as we’ve discovered here in Illinois.)

Only 16 days until we have the change we can believe in. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Harry thinks he can play politics

Harry Reid, the Democrat Senator from Nevada continues to think he can play politics. And he’s caught on tape with Blago talking about HIS picks for Obama’s old seat.

He told Blago he didn’t like any of the black men on the list and suggested Tammy Duckworth of Lisa Madigan. Duckworth is a demographic dream come true. She’s a woman. She’s a minority. She’s a war hero. And she lost her legs in battle. Perfect.

The part I like is that Reid reached Blago at his campaign headquarters, which means he knew where the real action is for the gov. You don’t call him at his Chicago office and you certainly don’t call him in Springfield.

You call Blago at his campaign office where he hides out. Besides, the phones are safe there…or so everyone thought.

Well, now we know how representative government really works in the USA. All sorts of interests are in play and none of them even pretend to serve the people.

If Reid ever tells you he’s serving the people remind him of his call to Blago…and his various procedural schemes calculated to end debate about immigration and pass a self-serving amnesty bill.

The devils in DC

Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, explains about as well as anyone can the current crisis in Washington. This is not a shot at Obama or Bush, but an indictment of what the federal government in general has become.

Arnn quotes Constitution author James Madison from The Federalist Paper #51: “But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

Read Arnn’s entire essay here:

The founding fathers knew the temptation for corruption and self-interest would be great and wove into the Constitution two important features, checks-and-balances and the seeds of revolt.

As to checks-and-balances we have permitted Washington to distort the roles of the three branches of government. In November we didn’t elect the most capable President in terms of executive ability. Neither candidate stood before us and said, “I will run the departments of government in the most effective and efficient manner.”

Obama and McCain both were promising an agenda of new laws and initiatives. Neither had much executive experience. If we were really looking for the best “chief executive” we probably would have chosen Romney.

The Judiciary has taken to lawmaking in ways we never thought possible. They have gone far afield of the work of the court as defined in the Constitution.

And committee after committee is formed by Congress to hold hearings…hearings that are nothing more than publicized court cases with subpoenas, witnesses, testimonies, and cross examinations.

And no one in Washington seems to care that the enumerated powers of government have gotten way out of hand. To the contrary, passing laws is how they keep their power and influence.

As for the seeds of revolt, we watch as Washington tries to restrict the right to bear arms and to regulate the press. Peaceable assembly is an interesting cat-and-mouse game of how, when, and where you may hold your protest.

Still, the Declaration of Independence cautions us to use revolt sparingly with these words: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.”

Indeed we live in interesting times.