Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey... dead.

He will be missed as a voice of common sense.


Our responsive government

How astute of Congress to call hearings on the matter of bird strikes. Just what was it that prompted these hearings? It was publicity, of course.

And how ironic that the pilot, crew, and air traffic controller were invited to testify this week. Why that’s the same week as the state of the union address.

Just exactly what does a pilot know about engines or geese? Well, not much. His testimony centered around the cut in pay that is typical for pilots, tied in to the safety angle of surviving the crash.

But someone from the FAA testified at the hearing and indicated that we have invested a great deal of money identifying the remains of bird strikes. Margaret Gilligan said:
“The FAA has an interagency agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to analyze bird remains at the Feather Identification Laboratory (National Museum of Natural History) to determine species identifications. In 2003, the FAA purchased a DNA sequencer to assist in building a DNA library and improve the identification capability of the laboratory. Airports can mail small remains from bird strikes to the feather laboratory at the Smithsonian. The laboratory then analyzes the remains and provides the species information to the airport and the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. Species information is vital for the airports and wildlife managers when considering appropriate mitigation measures. Additionally, engineers use the data provided on species weights to test new engine designs. The Feather Identification Lab identified over 700 cases for the FAA in 2008.”

In true form, Congress arrives on the scene to hold hearings when it is politically advantageous. The same missed signals are characteristic of our government. Think of the Fannie Mae mess and, of course, immigration. Always too little, too late. Always self-serving in nature.

From the book, “That’s not what we meant to do,” Steven Gillon explains the problem of subgovernments, unelected groups that really run our government:
“The vacuum of power has led to the proliferation of ‘iron triangles’ of power, in which subgovernments made up of interest groups, congressional committees, and corresponding executive agencies can shape and frequently distort the intentions of legislators…They are not under the control of the ‘general’ government and are able to make laws and policies without the assent of superior authority.”

When you add the tendency of the courts to redefine the law, you clearly lose the intent of what we normally think of as the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

That’s exactly what we are seeing when it comes to immigration. It is logical to think that we are subject to existing law until such time as Congress passes reform. Not so. We are subject to the whims of Homeland Security and the most recent court rulings. As we’ve come to find out, the laws on the books do not apply.

The only entertainment value comes when the environmental bureaucrats tussle with the aviation safety bureaucrats over the fate of the Canada Goose.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stop worshipping Obama

Read what Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told an audience in Toronto earlier this week (the emphasis is mine):

I like clarity, and there’s a reason why. I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth -- which means candor.

President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.

Unfortunately when it comes to the current administration that will be very hard for Catholics in the United States, and here’s why. A spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused prolifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer.

First, all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil. In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions.

Second, in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs.

Here’s the third thing to remember. It doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs. What we say about our Catholic faith is the easy part. What we do with it shapes who we really are.

Here’s the fourth and final thing to remember, and there’s no easy way to say it. The Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years. And now we’re harvesting the results -- in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives.

I like a man who speaks plainly. They are so rare these days.
Complete text here:

The Top Down Administration

Did you ever work for a boss who had to supervized every move you made, even if it was "by the book"?

It appears that Janet Napolitano over at Homeland Security is upset about an ICE raid on a company in Bellingham, Washington. She's peeved because she didn't know about it. This is the first worksite raid of the Obama administration.

Did it turn out badly? Well, no. They had done their homework and found exactly what they expected during the raid: People working who did not have a lawful right to do so because they were immigrants with fake papers or no papers at all.

The employer was cooperative after a criminal illegal alien had been deported. It turns out he used to work there, which started the investigation.

They arrested 28 people.

Here's where the micromanaging comes in. Napolitano has ordered an investigation because she wasn't advised of the raid in advance.

She tipped her hand that raids will focus on employers and relegate to "victim" status those who purchased fake IDs and took jobs from Americans.

It is all in keeping with the campaign of Illinois congressman Luis Gutierrez called "Family Unity" where he is going around the country saying we must stop the raids.

Clearly the Obama platform is taking shape. Those who work here illegally are to be left alone and the employers must be made to pay for hiring them.

I say they both must pay. Employers who hire illegals should be fined like the McDonalds franchise in Reno. But it makes no sense to give the illegal alien workers a free pass. Punishing them with deportation is obviously part of the equation as well. Otherwise, they'll just move on to another job and the magnet will continue to attract more people without work authorization.

I know this doesn't sit well with the libs, but the laws are on the books.

And here are some quotes from previous federal commissions who studied the illegal alien problem years ago. Their points are far more valid today.

A credible immigration system requires the effective and timely removal of aliens determined through constitutionally-sound procedures to have no right to remain in the United States. As the Commission stated in its 1994 Report, if unlawful aliens believe that they can remain indefinitely once they are within our national borders, there will be increased incentives to try to enter or remain illegally. US Immigration Commission -1997

The Commission recommends the elimination of the admission of unskilled workers. Unless there is another compelling interest, such as in the entry of nuclear families and refugees, it is not in the national interest to admit unskilled workers. This is especially true when the U.S. economy is showing difficulty in absorbing disadvantaged workers and when efforts towards welfare reform indicate that many unskilled Americans will be entering the labor force. US Immigration Commission -1995

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A model to follow

I don't know how Obama did it, but in a month he has been able to finally get good cooperation between local police and Homeland Security.

Hooray! Finally, some real change.

Local police needed federal support and within hours they were investigating the complaint and taking action.

Here's what happened. A guy gets pulled over in Oklahoma City on the way to work. Before dinner the feds had interviewed him and searched his home.

His crime? He put a hand-made sign on the back of his truck that read: "Abort Obama, not the unborn."

And by afternoon the Secret Service was face-to-face with this suspect. Obama was not in town at the time.

The police have admitted that they overreacted and gave him the sign back. But the Secret Service still jumped on the case.

I think this model of response from Homeland Security bodes well for immigration enforcement. Just imagine what will happen the next time a local police department tells ICE they have an illegal alien in custody. Following the Oklahoma City example they will be there within a few hours to pick him up and do a complete investigation.

Thank you, Mr. President for a responsive executive branch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Collateral damage

No, it isn't about the victims of war...or even illegal aliens inadvertently picked up in a raid.

This is about financial collateral, the stuff you put up with the bank when you take out a loan.

Typically, good collateral is the equity in your home, stocks and bonds, and your ability to bring home a paycheck every week.

Not so good right now. Home values are off 20% and still falling, the Dow has gone from 14,000 to 7,000 in a year, and unemployment is rising.

This is not too relevant until the bank closes. That's when they have to figure out what this "virtual" pot of money is really worth at this point in time. No wonder the prez wants to avoid bank closures, especially the big ones like CitiBank and Bank of America.

To nationalize the banks cheapens ALL the banks, even the responsible ones who aren't in trouble.

From an individual standpoint it is a great lesson about building equity in your home. Being upside-down on a new car is inevitable. It loses thousands in value when you drive out of the dealership with it. And you have to hold on to a car for a LOOOOOOONG time for it to begin growing in value.

Homes generally grow in value, but we've fallen prey to spending the equity. It isn't new. I remember watching TV in the 1960's and the banks were touting the H.E.L.P. or Home Equity Loan Plan. "Make your house work for you," they said.

And there may be times when it is wise...say to put a new roof on the house.

But we decided to borrow to build the home theater room or buy the hot tub or go to China for the Olympics with that money.

Some people stayed afloat by refinancing to pay off the credit cards with the appraised value of the home.

But they never built equity. Now home values have tanked they are upside-down on the mortgage. And responsible home owners are getting hit with the collapse as well. 20% is a lot to make up. And if you have to move, you are really stuck.

You have to wonder where we would have been without the loose lending practices that led to this bursting of the bubble. Sure, the appreciation of our homes would have been much more gradual and less dramatic; but we wouldn't have seen a total collapse of our credit market.

We didn't learn anything from the S & L crisis.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Which is which

Which of these photos are of William Devane, the actor?
And which are of Rod "The Vain" Blagojevich?
(answers in the comments)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Roland Burris - Take 4

Yesterday Burris changed his story AGAIN.

Now he says he made several calls in Blago's behalf in order to raise some campaign money but everyone turned down his request.

And yet he says his testimony and affidavits are all consistent with the truth. Wow!

But this recent revelation has attracted the attention of Barbara Boxer, chair of the US Senate Ethics Committee.

And the Sangamon County Illinois State's Attorney as well.

I was hoping we'd break a record here with the shortest-serving senator, but that record goes to Rebecca Felton who served one day in the Senate in 1922. She also holds the record for being the oldest and the first woman.

Sorry can't even win that prize.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A deposition demeanor

Depositions are a way of gathering information for court cases. You call a witness into a room, usually in their own home town, and you ask them questions about the case. There is a court reporter in the room taking down every word they say.

Then both sides get a copy of the deposition and prepare for trial. Those with the juicy information get put on as witnesses. The rest might get a passing mention.

The strategy for most depositions is laid out by the attorney from your "side" of the case.

Typically they will tell you:
*Don't lie
*Answer the questions but don't elaborate
*Don't ramble
*Don't offer information unless asked
*It's OK to say, "I don't know" or "I don't remember."

Now, about Roland Burris...he's a lawyer by profession. He was Attorney General for Illinois. He knows all about depositions.

It is a little hard for the public to believe that his behavior during the last two months was anything less than parsing words to deceive people.

Like Bill Clinton's answers, he thinks he's being "cute" by being evasive. As a lawyer he knows just what to say to stay legal. And he walks the line well. He thinks we're buying his innocence. Instead he's making us sick of one more crooked politician.

D-day Part 1 - Digital tv comes to America

On what was supposed to be the deadline for all analog tv broadcasts to end…

Oh lord, wont you buy me a color tv ?
Dialing for dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh lord, wont you buy me a color tv ?

From Mercedes Benz
Sung by Janis Joplin (1943-1970)
Recorded three days before her death
Written by Joplin, Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth

So, about this digital tv matter…It all began at a time of turmoil for the television industry, say around 1980. Cable TV was invading every municipality in America and wiring all the neighborhoods with HBO, CNN, ESPN…all without commercial interruptions.

And attractive deals were being cut with politicians and consumers. For $10 a month you could have it all, and public access channels to boot. (Which meant you could see all the mayor’s fine speeches on channel 17.) TV stations were under the gun.

To make matters worse, cell phones were on the horizon (aka bag phones or car phone or mobile phones).

The FCC is charged with managing the airwaves. Since 1934 the government has recognized the commercial value of the available frequencies. And they regulate it by licensing broadcasters and frequencies.

Even CB radios with a maximum five-mile range on a good day required a license to operate.

So the FCC carved up the frequencies, allotting them to TV stations, radio stations, police and fire, cell phone companies…in an effort to prevent two users from holding the same frequency in the same area of the country and broadcasting on top of each other.

TV stations had to protect their turf and allow for future expansion. Cell phone companies were lobbying for more frequencies.

So broadcasters got together and decided to push the feds to reserve additional frequencies for future use. The feds said, “Like what? You’re business is dying.”

And broadcasters shot back with “digital tv,” without any idea how that was ever going to be accomplished. And the feds said, “Show us the plan.”

There were some early attempts at digital tv back then, but nothing anywhere near ready for prime time. Perhaps the most advanced was Nippon in Japan. And some US companies had been in the lab working for years on the subject.

We had been through the 8 track and Beta format battles and the FCC was anxious to avoid that mess again. And there was some desire to favor American companies.

(Just so you know, your US tv set is NTSC format. Around the world are two other common formats called PAL and SECAM. This compatibility problem extends to VCRs as well.)

D-day Part 2 - Politics as usual

Then there is the political aspect of the FCC. For example, the first thing George W. Bush did when he got to the White House was to appoint Michael Powell as FCC Chairman. Michael’s father is General Colin Powell. Janet Jackson’s “performance”at the Super Bowl would be Michael’s downfall.

Obama appointed his Harvard Law Review pal Julius Genachowski as Chairman after he did such a great job helping the Prez manage the campaign technology. Besides, Julius was the FCC lawyer in the Clinton administration. (Even in these times of transparency, openness and change, there is always a connection.)

Of course, at the time no one had any idea of the impact of this digital revolution. The technology hadn’t caught up to Washington.

For example, one would have been labeled a madman to suggest that a room full of cassette tapes could be exchanged for an mp3 player no larger than a cigarette lighter simply by converting the songs from an analog format to a digital one.

Nor did they realize…
...that the cell phone would infiltrate society beyond anyone’s imagination and
...that the spectrum requirements would shrink considerably once that technology went digital.

D-day Part 3 - Buy American - NOT!

So, here was a perfect opportunity to support the sagging US electronics companies like RCA, Zenith, and Magnavox. By creating a new broadcast medium we could boost the sales of transmitters and receivers as well.

But what actually happened was far different.

The rescue arrived late. As it turned out much of the digital broadcast technology was patented to Zenith Electronics. And by the year 2000 Zenith declared bankruptcy only to emerge as a division of the Korean company – Goldstar (aka LG). Zenith’s value to Goldstar was two-fold, the Zenith name and the digital tv patents.

They didn’t want the manufacturing plants or the people. Goldstar saw Zenith’s value as its technology and name recognition, nothing more.

Virtually all TVs are made by foreign companies in foreign plants. Their US operations consist of salesmen and marketing/distribution functions.

But what about all those converter boxes? Well, here’s a good old American company – Magnavox. Buy an American converter box. Buy a Magnavox.

When you call up their website on the Internet it seems as though Magnavox is the same as we remember it, a true-blue “Born in the USA” company.

They even tell you “About Magnavox” with the history of Edwin Pridham and Peter Jensen and their loudspeakers in 1915. But they leave out the part about the company being sold to the Asians.
But buy the product and take it home. Examine the box. “Made in China.” And what’s this? The Magnavox logo at the top of the manual and the name Funai at the bottom. What’s Funai? A Japanese company…that happens to own the Magnavox name.

Well, at least the carton is made in the US. Wrong. The carton certificate says IT was made in China as well. The owner’s manual? Printed in China. By the way, the Funai company uses logos like Emerson, Sylvania, and Symphonic as well as Magnavox.

How about RCA? Surely RCA is still an American company. Nope. It was purchased by the French company Thomson. Of course, most of the RCA tvs you see today are built by TTE, and joint venture between the French and the Chinese.

The truth is, most of the good old American names AREN’T American. Look at the clock radios with names like Timex, Zenith, Sunbeam, Bell & Howell and you will find that they are nothing more than a licensed product made in Asia, probably by a company like Sound Design.

So, at the end of the day not much help to American companies came from the conversion of our nation’s broadcast technology.

D-day Part 4 - FREE TV

Now, as for the administration of the program. It seems silly that the government is buying these boxes for everyone. It seems even sillier amid trillion dollar bailouts that the program “ran out of money” for the subsidies. People waited a month for the rebate cards because there wasn’t enough money for everybody. They had to wait for older cards to expire before they could issue new ones. In the end Obama extended the implementation deadline another four months to make sure someone’s “rights” weren’t violated here.

In the circle of life it is the cable companies who feel threatened these days. And Dish. It seems that more people are simply watching tv over the Internet.

So we get three or four mailers a week from AT & T and Comcast, hoping to steer customers to their companies after analog “free” tv goes dead. It’s a tough sell. Grandma doesn’t want 300 channels and a monthly bill just so she can watch the local news.

And the tech savvy have already moved on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where's Valerie?

Another Obama confidante has gone missing. Remember when Rahm disappeared to Africa during the transition? He was a central figure in the Blago scandal and was conveniently out of the country for most of it.

Well, Valerie Jarrett has also been linked to the Blago senate seat auction and she's been out of the news. Nada. Zip.

There is a rumor she was on Air Force One with the prez when he came to Chicago but has anyone seen pictures? Any interviews?

Here was the woman who hired Michelle Obama at city hall. The woman who was so close to Obama that she could finish his sentences for him. An expert on public projects.

So you would think that with all the block grant money (CDBGs) in the stimulus bill Ms. Jarrett would be all over the country pumping up mayors and governors, telling the story to the press that the stimulus package will bring lots of money to the local communities and that everyone should write their congressman and tell him to vote for it.

That's the way it's supposed to work. But I'm guessing that the cards and letters to the White House and Congress were urges to vote AGAINST porkulus.

So, maybe Valerie was busy. Where? She hasn't generated any Internet traffic since December 9th, the day Blago was arrested.

Perhaps she'll come out of hiding for Black History Month. She is related to Robert Taylor and Vernon Jordan.

Labor rears its ugly head again

Roland Burris added another name to his contacts with Blago about filling Obama's seat in the senate - Ed Smith.

Edward M. Smith is the International Vice President of Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) and President of ULLICO, the union insurance arm.

Smith was also a significant fundraiser for Blago. (As we are finding out, Blago has several key fundraisers including his own brother.)

From an immigration point-of-view the position of Smith and the LIUNA is an important issue. It is:
We do not believe that we are a nation which should allow millions to live here, work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our country for years and then tell those millions they are no longer wanted and must leave.
• The only realistic solution is a path to earned citizenship that allows undocumented workers to join with all workers for better lives—for their place in the American Dream, in our communities, our unions and our society.
(from the LIUNA website)

So, I ask the same question I asked about the involvement of SEIU: Why would anyone even consider contacting a union leader for access to an elected official and his influence in the appointment of a Senator?

Why would Obama's staffer, Valerie Jarrett, talk with the SEUI about the Senate seat? And why would she feel inclined to report it?

Why would Burris think it important to name LIUNA leader Smith as an important contact in the decision to replace Obama?

This all points to a rather ugly trend, don't you think?

Worse, don't you think it odd that Obama and others are not speaking out about this obvious corruption in our political process?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Golfing with Senator Burris

“That was just a practice swing. Let me try that again.”


“Strike one!”

“Say fellas, let me hit that one more time.”

“I need to warm up. Let me stretch before I hit that.”

“Hang on. I’ve got to clean my glasses.”

Then after he leaves the first tee

A "Natural"

Sometimes they pick someone…and you have your doubts about whether they’ve got what it takes to do the job…and it turns out that the guy was born with the skills you’re looking for…no one taught him…no one knew…but he turns out to be a “Natural”…Senator Roland Burris.

I know, it sounds strange. But this guy was born knowing how to be a U S Senator.

On January 5th Burris submitted an affidavit stating that he was asked by Blago on December 26th to be the new Senator to replace Obama. There was no bribe offered and none given. He said: “Prior to the December 26, 2008 telephone call from (Blago’s agent) Mr. Adams, Jr., there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Governor Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the United States Senate.”

This was the man with no baggage who would become Senator. Sort of like Gerald Ford during Watergate, a nice man with a clean record.

On January 8th Burris testified before the Illinois House impeachment hearings that, : “I recall having a meeting with Lon Monk…and I did bring it up, it must have been in September or maybe it was in July of '08 that, you know, you're close to the Governor, let him know that I am certainly interested in the seat.”

At that time they asked Burris about any money talk for the seat:
“REPRESENTATIVE DURKIN: Okay. At any time were you directly or indirectly aware of a quid pro quo with the Governor for the appointment of this vacant Senate seat?
MR. BURRIS: No, sir.”

Then on January 11th, on Face the Nation, Burris said:
“Appointing me to that vacancy certainly is good for the people of Illinois. I have nothing to do with all of his problems. Those are his problems. And with my experience, my knowledge of Illinois and my commitment to do a public servant in my state, I know that I could take on that mantle...”

Senator Dick Durbin was on the same show and twice indicated that the U S Senate would not seat him until they had reviewed Burris’ “testimony before the impeachment committee.”

On January 27th it became public knowledge that Blago’s brother and fundraiser, Robert Blagojevich, was recorded on wiretaps “as many as 50 times.”

Then on February 5th Burris sends another amendment to his affidavit because “given the fluid nature of the questions and answers between the Senator and the Committee, and based upon our subsequent review of the hearing transcripts, the Senator was unable to fully respond to several matters that were included in questions during his testimony.”
He proceeded to say: “I recall that Governor Blagojevich's brother, Rob Blagojevich, called me three times to seek my assistance in fund-raising for Governor Blagojevich. The first conversation was in early October, 2008, and the other two were shortly after the election. During the first conversation I asked Rob Blagojevich what was going on with the selection of a successor if then-Senator Obama were elected President, and he said he had heard my name mentioned in the discussions. In one of the other conversations (I believe the last one), I mentioned the Senate seat in the context of saying that I could not contribute to Governor Blagojevich because it could be viewed as an attempt to curry favor with him regarding his decision to appoint a successor to President Obarna. I did not raise or donate any funds to Governor Blagojevich after the fundraiser on June 27, 2008.”

Yes sir, Burris is going to fit in well in the United States Senate. He’s a Natural.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who knew?

You are not going to believe this. The Obama administration has discovered that some of the criminals deported over the last ten years actually had children who were US citizens. They believe we sent home over 100,000 of those parents over the last ten years.

Amazing! Who knew? Since most crimes are committed by people in their child-bearing years and since the profile (can I use that word?) of the typical illegal alien is a male between the ages of 18 and 40 years, what did you expect?

Since there are over 3.1 million anchor babies in the United States it isn't such a surprise.

Ah, but there is an agenda here. Listen to the comments from politician Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat as reported in the AP article on February 13th:
"I am saddened, but not surprised to learn that our government, in its harsh anti-immigrant stance, has split hundreds of thousands of families apart over the past decade.

"If, in fact, some (children) were left behind here, then you have the sad tragedy of breaking up families. If they were taken back, I would argue the direct result of our actions is the deportation of our citizens. How do you deport a U.S. citizen?"

Boy, if this thinking holds up we'll have a baby boom among felons.

Repurchase agreement

This landed in the bushes this morning. I suppose newspapers all over the country had similar articles today about the local impact of the stimulus package.
He: "Look, honey. They're finally going to fix Route 25 with the stimulus money."
She: "That's nice of them, dear."
He: "And they'll be doing two million worth of patching."
She: "Heaven knows we need that."
Smiles all around.
But don't think too deeply about the entire concept or you'll begin to ask some serious questions.
...Aren't roads the very essence of core services government is SUPPOSED to provide?
...Haven't we had road commissioners and taxation, for... oh a hundred years or so, charged with the responsibility of providing safe roads?
...We're paying 50.8 cents a gallon for motor fuel tax in Illinois, 18.4 cents of it federal. Isn't THAT for roads and bridges?
...And we know congress has been stuffing these projects into unrelated bills whenever they can. They are bargaining chips that secure votes. Isn't this stimulus bill doing the same thing on a national scale? "If we fill it with a bunch of local projects, the bill will be easier to swallow."
So, yes, they have just sold us the things we already own.
And in the process proved that they can't perform the core services of government.
I guess we deserve this kind of government.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Freshman President...

...or living with in real time.

It has been a rough week for the President. The message has gotten away from him a few times.

It's not like the days as a community organizer where you were selling a dream with no regard for the truth. Your job was to draw a crowd and create a photo-op. The real work followed with the folks who had to make something viable out of your promises.

As a state senator you never rose very high and others put THEIR names on the bills. And if things got tough you could simply vote "present" and preserve your image.

In the U S Senate it was much the same since you weren't there very long. They lobbed you a couple of easy ones to create a record to run on.

And on the campaign trail your success was measured by the applause-o-meter.

But now you have hit the big time.

You can't always control the message. Like when you say that Caterpiller can now begin hiring again now the stimulus package has been approved...only to have the CEO stand up and tell the world there will be more lay-offs first.

Or you go out of your way to pick a Republican for Commerce and he has the nerve to have second thoughts. (Was that a set-up all along? I doubt it. Strategy and GOP are total strangers.)

I can't wait for you to sit down with foreign leaders. They really have minds of their own!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Running out of choices

There were two in the bed,
And the little one said:
"Roll over! Roll over!"
So they both rolled over,
And one fell out.

Senator Judd Gregg has backed out of the appointment for Secretary of Commerce, citing irreconcilable differences with the Obama administration over the economy.

He joins Bill Richardson in the club of washouts for that post.

Remember this name

Tom Athans
Tom has been heavily involved in talk radio..."progressive" talk radio (they don't like the word "liberal" these days).

He's been associated with the management of Air America, Democracy Radio, The Ed Schultz Show, and The Stephanie Miller Show.

You're probably saying to yourself, "I've heard of Air America but they went belly-up. Who are these other people?" Which is exactly the point. Left talk radio doesn't do well. I'm guessing it is the competition from NPR...but I digress.

And Tom might be "famous" for being picked up as a "John" in a hooker sting in Troy Michigan about a year ago. It's OK. He admitted his involvement and cooperated with police.

Oh, and Tom is married to a U S Senator, Debbie Stabenow.

Keep an eye on Debbie as she leads the fight against Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Dobbs...all those folks Obama warned you about.

The legislation is called, of all things, "The Fairness Doctrine," and it could put the government firmly in the censorship business.

The Democrats feel so threatened by talk radio in this country that they are willing to shred the Bill of Rights just to attack it.

Watch "The Fairness Doctrine" very closely and learn about it.

And watch Tom and Debbie.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

From Honest Abe:

"No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens."


"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois" (September 18, 1858), pp. 145-146.

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects. (Herodotus)

You see, reading Lincoln today one would call him the most vile of racists, but he is the one we honor as the great emancipator. What has happened here is that 150 years have passed since he said that. He lived in a different time.

Some contend that Abe was gay because there is evidence that he sometimes slept with other men while travelling. Nice try, but people on the road often shared beds with other people in his day.

We can't apply our norms and values on past generations.

Abe's as great now as he ever was.

The FELL Act

Full Employment for Lobbying Leeches
The Obama administration has gone right to work to fight the rise in unemployment.

They began with the high-risk group…LOBBYISTS.

Here in Elgin we have an ace-in-the-hole. The City of Elgin hired an ex-Obama staffer to represent the interests of the city in Foggy Bottom (DC). The price tag? $60K a year.

Why? Well, we’ve got to muscle in to our place at the trough.

There are THREE TRILLION DOLLARS worth of pork to be had.

We’ve got to get our share of ...the foreclosure money.
…and green intiative money
…and school money
…and Internet superhighway for the disadvantaged money
…and road money
…and bridge money
…and mass transit money

As Charles Krauthammer wrote in the op section:
“The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports The Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits to yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting for a windfall new "bonus depreciation" incentive.”

As a former community organizer, Obama is familiar with the way federal money is thrown around. If he’s forgotten he can ask his gal Valerie Jarrett to explain it.

And he knows that public projects involve lobbyists, waste, and a certain amount of loss due to corruption. (Again, Jarrett can fill him in there.) Not to mention…
…prevailing wage laws
…affirmative action clauses
…rules and regulations on safety and environmental impact

But Obama has learned well from Harry Reid. If the deal stinks, rush it. (Watch for Rule 14 and clay pigeons.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Geithner hasn't resigned

Obama's Secretary of the Treasury (and confessed tax cheat) Tim Geithner appears to be staying rather than resigning. Why?

1) The confirmation hearings are brutal and Obama doesn't want to risk another embarrassment.
2) If Geithner were to resign now it would be another shock to Wall Street.

So...once again expediency trumps ethics.

Just my opinion.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Time warp

Here's Senator Barack Obama at an immigrants (read illegal aliens) rights rally in Chicago, May 1, 2006.

This is a repeat of an "oldie but a goody" video clip:

Much has changed since then...
The economy took a nose-dive.
Obama is now our president.
The amnesty debate died and is coming back again.
More states are flowing red ink.

The White House has posted an official agenda page on immigration and it clearly favors non-citizens, even bestowing power to the illegal aliens among us.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stickin' it to the gringos

Just in time for Mardi Gras, Mexicans are snarfing up voodoo dolls.

These dolls are dressed in red, white, and blue with the word "gringos" on the back. The effigies are of the U S national soccer team.

Here are the instructions:

"Hold a needle firmly between your thumb and index finger and prick slowly the part of the doll where you want to affect the opponent."

RadioShack had the good sense to steer clear of this promo but not Blockbuster.

That's right, good old Blockbuster Video thought it was a great idea.

Score one for Redbox!
Any bets the First Lady will make any comments about tasteless dolls this time?
Update: The black magic didn't work!

U.S. masters Mexico again with shutout
Stellar defense lifts Americans in opening World Cup qualifier
By Rusty Miller
2:00 a.m. February 12, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Michael Bradley scored twice as the United States beat Mexico 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier yesterday and remained undefeated at home against El Tri since 1999.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Such a great word in politics right now. The right of the people to see what's happening in government. If Blago had been transparent we would have seen the deals he was doing for his pals and the bad guys that were involved in the affairs of the People.


Listen to this exchange at the White House between Jake Tapper of ABC News and Robert Gibbs, Obama's Press Secretary. It took place on February 5th:

MR. GIBBS: Jake.

Q Robert, two questions. One is a housekeeping one. In the name of the transparency that you and the President herald so much, is there any way we could get the copies of the waivers that the OMB issues to allow certain Cabinet posts or deputy posts --
MR. GIBBS: I'll check on it.

Q -- free of the ethics constraints you put up? And also the disclosure forms that your nominees put out that go to the Office of Government Ethics that somehow they're not able to email or put on the web -- is there any way we can get copies of those?
MR. GIBBS: I will check. I don't -- I don't know how those forms are distributed.

Q Just based on listening to the President's rhetoric, I'm sure it's something he'd want to do. (Laughter.) The question is --
MR. GIBBS: Knowing of your crystal clarity on his opinion, I'll certainly check.

Q He doesn't believe in transparency?
MR. GIBBS: Did you have another more pertinent question?

Q I think that's pretty -- I think it's fairly pertinent here, Cabinet nominees and whether or not they pay their taxes and whether or not they have speaking fees. With all sorts of industries they're supposed to regulate, I think it's fairly pertinent. You don't?
MR. GIBBS: Obviously I do, and obviously the President does.

Q Okay, well, then we'll move on. A majority of the American people apparently support blocking or making major changes to the stimulus bill, according to a Gallup poll. Are you worried at all that you've lost control of the process on how this bill is perceived?

MR. GIBBS: No. Chuck? (Which means he's moving on to another subject.)

Some are comparing Gibbs to a Bush scapegoat who later wrote a book. The idea is that Gibbs is kept in the dark, stumbles over the tough questions, and Obama appears on the scene a few days later and gives out all the answers anyone could ever want.

Maybe. Or maybe Obama is going to have trouble with the media throughout his presidency because he feels threatened when anyone disagrees with him and hates working within the constraints of rules. He's a tough one to defend, as Axelrod already found out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some like it hot…

…or “skin in the game.”

It is reported that the Obama team has rolled up their sleeves, loosened their neckties, and gone to work in the business of government. They have shed those GOP suit coats in the Oval Office and cranked up the thermostat to something akin to an orchid hothouse.

We’ve all got to sacrifice here, put our “skin in the game” to solve America’s problems, said Obama as he tried to manage our high expectations.

Here’s our "skin in the game." The thermostat is set at 65 degrees. (We spot ourselves an additional three degrees in the evening and to coax us out of bed in the morning.)

And here’s what 65 degrees looks like around the house.
The kitchen.
Our bedroom.
The basement.

And we have our arsenal of wool socks, sweat pants, flannel shirts, and afghans on the couch to keep us warm.

But we aren’t motivated because of our carbon footprint. This is what motivates our energy conservation.

And that has been our motivation for two decades.

You want skin? Let me tell you about my friend John who lives in English, Indiana, hard against the Kentucky border. His power was knocked out by the ice storms.

He spent 48 hours harvesting icicles in dish tubs and placing them in his refrigerator to keep the food cold. When the ice melted he’d dump it in a bucket to use for flushing the toilet and head outside for more icicles.

He kept warm with his wood-burning stove. Where did he get the wood? He not only put skin in the game but some blisters as well. John cut it, split it, and stacked it last fall. It wasn’t “steamy” like the Oval Office but they were comfortable. And they had the good sense to dress in layers.

And his blood pressure helps keep him warm.

When he thinks about the green people worried about the emission from his chimney his temperature goes up.

When he thinks about Pelosi and her private passenger jet that costs 10,000 times a first class airplane ticket every time she uses it, he gets really worked up.

Or when he thinks about Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who burns more resources in a month than John will in his lifetime, he sheds his vest no matter how chilly it is in the house.

And now he can add the thermostat setting at the White House to his list of warming sensations.

But there are others who put the ultimate skin in the game. Every year here in the snow belt you will read about the elderly woman who froze to death in her home with money in the bank and her thermostat set at 50 degrees.

Or the family of six who perished in a fire caused by a space heater.

Or the family who never woke up because they were heating their apartment by leaving the oven door open.

We are those bitter people who own guns and go to church every week that you hold in such disregard. Thank you for just another example of your arrogance, your hypocrisy, your elitism.




Just to sort things out in my mind I need to understand something about Gitmo.

It has been around for a hundred years (1906, I think).

It houses “enemy combatants”, including five of the 9/11 terrorists.

They are treated well, including dental care and colonoscopies. (I picture scenes from the movie “Marathon Man”, but I’m told the Red Cross is monitoring their treatment, so it is legit.)

There are fewer than 300 prisoners there at the present time.

They are at Guantanamo because of political loopholes. Some because no other country will take them. Some because of the nature of military tribunals.

Those same loopholes will likely place MORE prisoners there when we do the Afghanistan surge.

This has become a cause celebre for the left. It is symbolic of the Obama administration’s commitment to human rights. It is an attack on Bush and Cheney and Halliburton and the GOP in general. For this reason alone we should keep it open. It is a political move, akin to Jimmy Carter and his ill-fated overtures into Iran. How did that turn out?

I believe Obama could have gone another direction here. He could have committed additional military legal resources to the problem with orders to explore the cases of the detainees, release those with the flimsiest cases, and put the other processes on a fast track.

That way he could satisfy himself that the prisoners really BELONG there. As it stands he is simply taking a stand on behalf of his far left friends. It sounds strangely like Blago’s media tour where he told us that if he can be railroaded, we can lose our rights to a fair trial, too.

Neither analogy works very well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Well, Tim?

Taxes. I'm working on mine now and it is a pain. I hate paying for things that don't work.

I've been audited twice in the last four years. I came out clean both times. They seem to take issue with my charitable contributions.

So, Tom Daschle pulled out of the running over his tax errors today.

And so did Nancy Killefer, Obama's Chief Performance Officer. I understand that this position is new and no confirmation hearings would have been required.

So, the new man at Treasury, Tim Geithner, has already been anointed by the senate. Will he stay or will he go?

These tax errors are being picked up quickly by the press. One of two things is happening:
1) Obama's screening ("vetting" seems pretentious to me) process is sorely lacking.
2) Obama knew about these problems and put these people out there anyway.

Either possibility isn't very flattering to Mr. Change.

Monday, February 2, 2009

By appointment only

I was thinking yesterday about the fate of politicians who are appointed rather than elected. I mean those people who are put in office by one person or a small number of people, generally from one party or another.

Take Gerald Ford, for instance. He was appointed to be Vice President when Spiro Agnew resigned. Nixon had no clout when he picked Ford so congress told him who they’d ratify. Then he ascended to the presidency when Nixon resigned.

Not a bad president for being thrown into the chaos of post-Watergate, but not electable on his own.

Then I think about Ruth Munson. Ruth was appointed to fill the Illinois Rep seat following the sudden passing of Doug Hoeft. Both were pretty liberal to be called Republicans but Hoeft knew where to draw the line.

Then there is Juan Figueroa, appointed by the Elgin city council to finish the term of Marie Yearman. His appointment was already announced when they figured out Juan wasn’t even a registered voter and thus was ineligible for the post.

No matter. They quickly registered him, took a Mulligan on the appointment, and moved on as if nothing had happened.

Now we have Roland Burris, currently the only African-American U S Senator. He came to the office by the will of one man; ex-governor Rod Blagojevich. Gee, such a potential for a great moment in history, taking the seat of now-President Obama. Instead it had all the pomp and glamour of a fart in church.

Then there was the Caroline Kennedy near-miss. Party bosses opted for someone a little more palatable. Rep Kirsten Gillibrand was chosen to replace Hillary Clinton. But Gillibrand is confusing the Latino activists and anti-illegal alien people as well. We’ll see.

We could talk about Al Franken if you’d like, but Minnesota deserves him!

The latest little tidbit is that Obama has his eye on a new nominee for Secretary of Commerce who just happens to be a U S Senator, Judd Gregg from New Hampshire. His replacement in the Senate is likely to favor the Obama agenda and boost the vote total.

He was scientifically selected by the White House as Commerce Secretary when Obama asked, “Did any Republicans APPROVE Geithner?”

Smithers replied, “Well, sir, there was Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. And nine others.”

What do I find in common about appointees? They are all crowd-pleasers rather than leaders.

Obama, Inc.

Perhaps you saw the article in your paper. Ours was in the Sunday edition with the headline: “White House Lawyers Look to Limit Commercial Use of President’s Image”

It seems the President doesn’t much care for certain forms of Obamania. The First Lady has already had a fit over the dolls.

But he’s no happier than Michelle. The article points out that Southwest Airlines did a “Yes You Can” campaign and Ben & Jerry’s sells “Yes Pecan” ice cream.

The funny thing about those examples is that Obama STOLE “Yes we can” from the migrant farm workers! What’s he got to complain about?

It's also peculiar that the TV networks were showing an old home video of the Obama family from a few years back. It must not be a privacy issue. I'm guessing it is a control issue. He wants to have his finger on the message button at all times lest someone poke fun at him or oppose his work.

(This gives all the more credence to the idea that the left wants to kill free speech through the Fairness Doctrine.)

Looking ahead to four years of political cartoons, he’d better lighten up a bit.

What’s he going to do, copyright everything he says or does or wears? “Change” may mean that he’ll be the first president with his own line of licensed products.

My first impression is that there must be tons of t-shirts left over at

or at