Saturday, March 31, 2012

NYC Mayor bans food donations to homeless shelters

[VIDEO] I had to find a news story about this "Nanny of the month". It makes me wonder what prompted this:
Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Glenn Richter arrived at a West Side synagogue on Monday to collect surplus bagels — fresh nutritious bagels — to donate to the poor. However, under a new edict from Bloomberg’s food police he can no longer donate the food to city homeless shelters.

It’s the “no bagels for you” edict.

“I can’t give you something that’s a supplement to the food you already have? Sorry that’s wrong,” Richter said.

Richter has been collecting food from places like the Ohav Zedek synagogue and bringing it to homeless shelters for more than 20 years, but recently his donation, including a “cholent” or carrot stew, was turned away because the Bloomberg administration wants to monitor the salt, fat and fiber eaten by the homeless.
Some might argue this is necessary because ultimately the taxpayer will have to pick up the costs of taking care of those homeless in need to medical care. What they consume could cause health problems tomorrow. Of course the video above notes that the homeless also dumpster dive and that's not particularly health either. Also I've seen people on the train give homeless people junk food all the time when they claim they're hungry.

Sometimes the solution may be as much of the problem as the problem it hopes to settle.

There must be more to this story. Where can I find what prompted this? Better yet, where is the actual edict? I want to see it. Does it ban all donations to food pantries.

Video via Instapundit!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Remy: Health Care Mandates vs Pizza Toppings

[VIDEO] Right now the US Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of "Obamacare" or formally the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010.

It appears that Reason has been taking a look at health care in light of this although the above video is the first I've seen on the subject. This video takes a look at the mandates many states put on health insurance policies.

The point of this video is, shouldn't we be able to pick and choose what exactly our health insurance policies should cover? Also another point of this video is that all these mandates on our insurance policies by government can only cause insurance premiums to increase.

If that's the case here's one way of reducing health care costs for consumers, although I know just saying that is a bit simplistic.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Will You Marry Me (After I Pay Off My Student Loans)?

Well, I got lots of students loans right now though at least I'm not jumping back to school anytime soon. The article doesn't seem to address the issue of job prospects which is why many students are having difficulty with their student loans:
A new report (not yet online) by economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight points out that while other forms of debt have been going down since 2007, student loan debt has been growing, both in terms of the number of borrowers and the size of the loans. At the same time, the number of young Americans delaying marriage and starting a family has accelerated.

In 2007, the median age of a first marriage for males was 27.5 years old, and for females, 25.6 years old, according to IHS. By 2011 it crept up to 28.7 and 26.5, respectively. Fertility rates, defined as births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, decreased significantly from 69.3 in 2007 to just below 65 last year. (The marriage trend began earlier in the decade. Fertility rates, on the other hand, were going up until the recession hit.)

While credit-card, auto loan, and mortgage debt have all been falling since 2007, student loan debt has been rising—and faster than expected. Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that student loan debt surpassed the $1 trillion mark in the fourth quarter of 2011. That estimate is greater than earlier ones, including the New York Fed’s $867 billion projection.
The lack of job prospects for young Americans isn’t dulling the pain. This age group has been hit harder by the downturn than others. That has caused many more young adults to enroll in school, thus saddling themselves with even greater student loan burdens, IHS says.

The Obama administration is trying to ease the pain. Late last year the president issued an executive order mandating that outstanding student debt be forgiven after 20 years, down from 25 years, and that student debt payments not exceed 10 percent of a graduate’s income, a drop from 15 percent. What impact will the changes have? At least one analysis has found that they’ll save grads less than $10 a month. Definitely not enough to work on those wedding plans.
 OK, so hopefully I'll find me a nice woman who isn't fazed by my debt. Hopefully she doesn't have as much debt herself. Hopefully debt won't put a dent into our wedding plans. Besides this is only temporary.

Via Newsalert!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sun-Times: Judge says Blagojevich showed ‘mental instability

Judge James Zagel presided over both of former Governor Rod Blagojevich's federal trial. Today was the sentencing of Blago's former chief of staff John Harris. Blago and Harris were both arrested on that fateful day of December 9, 2008.
Former chief of staff John Harris’ role in the bartering over President Obama’s old Senate seat was “so serious and so crucial” that it warranted some prison time, said U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel. But Zagel also noted that Harris’s boss exhibited “elements on some level of mental instability.”

“It was difficult for me to understand, on many occasions, what the governor was doing,” Zagel told Harris.

Blagojevich and Harris were arrested on the same day in December 2008, but rather than fighting the charges, Harris almost immediately agreed to cooperate with federal investigators and testified against Blagojevich at both his trials, pleading guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of a more lenient sentence. In addition to the unusually brief prison term, Zagel sentenced Harris, 50, to two years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine.

Harris told the judge that he wanted to apologize for his actions to the people of the state, the court, the government and his family. Harris, who is of Greek descent, recounted the long “odyssey” that began with his arrest at home, saying he soon realized he should have stopped helping Blagojevich when it became clear to him that his boss was looking to benefit himself.

“I should have done more,” Harris told Zagel. “In seeking to maintain his confidence, I lost my way.”

Harris’s lawyer, Terry Ekl, had asked the judge to give no more than probation, but he said Harris was “very pleased” with the sentence.

Before announcing the sentence, the judge said he could not honestly claim he would have reacted to a superior’s directives differently than Harris responded to Blagojevich — with one exception.

“I would have left sooner, much sooner,” said Zagel, who was a state official in the 1970s and 1980s and credited Harris with disobeying some of Blagojevich’s orders.
Blagojevich started his 14 year prison term on March 15th.

Via Newsalert!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Politico: Former Congressional aide would rather be at war in Afghanistan

I heard about this story from The Politico on the news yesterday, well FOX News. Anyway, I wonder what the deal is with this:
In an explosive resignation letter, a disabled veteran and aide to Rep. Laura Richardson told the California Democrat that she’d “rather be at war in Afghanistan” than continue working for the congresswoman and accused a senior staff member of engaging in improper political activity on government time.

Brenda Cruz, who worked at Richardson’s office through the Wounded Warrior Program, wrote that Richardson and the senior staffer mistreated her during and after her pregnancy, forcing Cruz to conclude she had to leave the office for her own health and that of her child.

More important to a sprawling House Ethics Committee investigation into Richardson, Cruz alleges the congresswoman used her staff for political purposes. Cruz writes that she, herself, unwittingly engaged in political activity and that a senior staffer routinely and openly worked on Richardson’s reelection effort and other political campaigns while in Richardson’s district office. House aides may work on political campaigns but only outside of congressional offices and on their own time, and no government resources can be used in these efforts.

The House Ethics Committee, which is investigating whether Richardson and her aides improperly used official resources for campaign activities, is now in possession of a copy of Cruz’s March 9 letter, multiple sources told POLITICO.

In a lengthy response to POLITICO, Richardson’s office categorically denied Cruz’s claims, calling the allegations of political work on government time “completely baseless.”

Furthermore, a senior Richardson aide accused former staffers to the congresswoman who now work for Rep. Janice Hahn of influencing Cruz and stirring up trouble for political gain. The source said the relationship between the two offices has become “very toxic” because the Democratic lawmakers are running against each other in a newly redrawn California district.

Hahn’s office declined to comment for this story.
It's pretty damning when one of your aides says that they'd rather be in a warzone than in your very own Congressional office. I mean wow.

BTW, if you look at her Wikipedia profile there appears to have been many ethical issues surrounding her. One of which was over a house for which she stopped paying her mortgage. She was cleared of wrongdoing by the House of Representatives however.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Out of Michael Madigan's 13th Ward of Chicago

This column by Mark Brown of the Sun-Times was published the day after last week's primary. If I may say so, this is what I call a ground game:
There’s a saying in politics that signs don’t vote, but they usually help tell the story in a place like the 13th Ward, a longtime Democratic machine stronghold where Madigan has been the committeeman for more than four decades.

The final unofficial vote tally: 9,498 for Madigan; 2,125 for Piszczor.

Szykowny, 78, understands why those results might frustrate some people around Illinois who would like to see Madigan removed from his Speaker’s post but can’t find a way to get at him.

“As the Speaker, he hasn’t done much but get us in deeper in debt,” Szykowny complained to my surprise — dissenting voices being few and far between on Madigan’s home turf.

“But don’t get me wrong,” he hastened to add. “Madigan and his people have done us wonders around here. I’m not saying anybody else would have done any better.”

In the end, Szykowny said, he couldn’t bring himself to vote against Madigan.

“For one reason, it ain’t going to happen,” he said, referring to what he saw as a half-hearted campaign by Piszczor. “She hasn’t made enough waves to make a difference.”

Plus, Szyknowny added, he didn’t want to disappoint his precinct captains, who are always quick to help if he needs an extra garbage pickup or to have the alley baited for rats.
Aside from a two year break in the mid-1990s Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois state House since 1983 and is very much a very powerful figure in Illinois. People are frustrated with him because most of us don't get to elect him and he wields plenty of influence in this state.

Believe it or not while surely I would be at odds with him on a variety of issues he definitely has my respect. A lot of people may express frustration at the issues Illinois is facing, but often it seems he's the only adult at the table. That was especially the case during the years of Rod Blagojevich's governorship.

As for other aspects of his influence well, he runs a tight ship. It's certainly true for any legislative body in this nation, he's able to build a strong caucus. Thus if his tightly run ship means people look up to him for leadership then certainly other players in the state would have to listen to him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

So the Feds have an informant within the Chicago machine?

OK, so I probably overstated that just a little. The Democratic organization that's headed by our Secretary of State Jesse White is out of the west side's 27th Ward. This is the organization that helped Derrick Smith get appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives. If you haven't been following this story a week before the state primary elections he had been arrested on suspicion of bribery. Smith went on to win the primary in spite of that arrest.

Anyway, so I find out on the Capitol Fax this morning that this informant has been helping out the Fed for at least 3-4 years. Makes me wonder why Rich Miller thinks this person comes from Jesse White's ranks. I mean if a campaign worker probably got the Fed onto Smith's tail it had to have been an insider, right?

So if Miller says anyone within the 27th Ward Democratic Organization has to be concerned right now, is anyone else going down soon?

Also Jesse White has enjoyed a great standing in Illinois as Secretary of State. Many don't consider him corrupt but because of this situation it makes me wonder if his reputation is starting to take a hit because of this.

Trayvon Martin...

[VIDEO] I'm starting off with this video. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson sees hypocracy in the protests for the slain teen Trayvon Martin. He wishes to see more protests against either black-on-black or black-on-white violence. He even shares a soundbite of a story black-on-white story which involves burning someone alive.

I can sympathize with that point. In this case I want to avoid any attempt at racism although in this case the charges of racism appeared to be directed towards the police who wouldn't charge this man - George Zimmerman - who shot Trayvon.

Also with "Stand your ground" laws. Especially if you have the ability to protect yourself but surely the standard has to be so high were it will be plausible for you to be forced to defend yourself. If there is no evidence that your life was in any way in danger then yes one should be charged with murder.

BTW, in this case I hear that the FBI may want to investigate. The Feds don't normally investigate murder but who's to say a violating civil rights charge won't be thrown about or hate crimes. Could Zimmerman be charged with a hate crime in this case? I would say focus on the murder if this boy's race was part of it so be it but murder is bad enough. If the police down there in that Florida town messed up that's another aspect to.

Finally I want to share this Tribune article:
The rally began hours after Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. made the surprising announcement that he was stepping down "temporarily." Lee said he had become a distraction as the city deals with the turmoil arising from Martin's death, which has sparked allegations of police racism for officers' failure to arrest Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer who says he acted in self-defense. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father says he is Latino.

The gathering had been scheduled for a church that holds a few hundred people, but on Thursday afternoon, officials shifted the location to Fort Mellon Park, fearing the church wouldn't be big enough. They were right. By 8 p.m., the sidewalks, streets and the walkway skirting the shores of Lake Monroe were crammed with several thousand people, many carrying signs calling for justice for Martin, who was shot to death Feb. 26 as he walked through a gated community to a relative's home after buying a package of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea.

Zimmerman, who had called police dozens of times between January 2011 and Feb. 26, reported Martin as a suspicious person and got out of his truck while talking to the police operator. A lawyer representing Martin's family has said the teen told his girlfriend by cellphone that he was being followed moments before he was shot. Martin was unarmed. Witnesses reported hearing someone cry for help before the gunshot rang out.

Thursday night's scene featured a bit of everything. There were white people, black people, elderly couples, children in strollers and dogs on leashes. T-shirt sellers were getting $10 for shirts with Zimmerman's picture below a huge "WANTED" sign. Other T-shirts read, "I am Trayvon Martin," underscoring the theme of many speakers' comments that anybody could fall victim to a bullet if confronted by someone carrying a loaded gun and claiming self-defense.

"Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son," his mother, Sybrina Fulton, said in a shaky voice as she fought back tears.
OK, charges of racism aside the fact is this young man know that he was being follow and accounts suggest that he was trying very hard to get away from this man. If Zimmerman was in fear for his life surely Martin was in absolute terror because he didn't have a gun. So yeah I would suggest that Zimmerman should've been arrested and hopefully a thorough investigation to determine if this is murder.

But hence I said investigation. I hear Zimmerman has been getting death threats and that's only a distraction to the truth. Let's get the truth out at least find the truth and insure that we will know what exactly happend to Trayvon before he was shot to death!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?

Well, I think I have been thoroughly discouraged from taking the SAT. A guy did it recently and he hated it at 17 and he hates it now! His conclusion:
I took my final score on this practice test and did a proportion (one more goddamn math problem) to see if my score was better than it was 19 years ago. And it was, by roughly 190 points. (I got 2140 this time. You do the math yourself.) I'm smarter than I was when I was 17, and that's a relief, because I was a fucking MORON at 17. If you're 35 years old and you're thinking about retaking the SAT as a kind of blog stunt, I would highly recommend you avoid it. In fact, I would recommend that no one take the SAT ever. It's a sternly worded dinosaur of a test, graded in an arbitrary manner with outdated equipment, and it blows. The only reason people take it is because they have to. It exists only so that preppy dipshits can brag about their scores well into adulthood if they did well. I hate it. I hope the Princeton Review gets fucked by a cattle prod.
If you're 17 or 18 and don't want to take the SAT go to a community college. Depending on where you go to a university those college credits will be more than enough. Well those and the GPA at least.

Once upon a time I took the ACT, the SAT wasn't promoted at my high school or perhaps even in CPS. My senior year of high school however I really didn't bother applying to any universities anyway. Just simply applied to one of the City Colleges of Chicago got registered and took a placement test and was all set from there. My ACT scores weren't that good so college admissions could've been a challenge for me then.

Anyway, if I ever want to go back to school it might required taking a different test such as the LSAT, GRE or even the GMAT. Hopefully my patience won't be tested with those exams.

Via Instapundit!

In a primary election between a crook and an ex-Republican...

Who would you choose? In the 10th District for Illinois House of Representatives yesterday voters there chose the crook. Then it gets more complicated than that, today maneuvers are being made to get this individual out of that house seat.

I've been blogging about that story since it happened. State Rep. Derrick Smith had been arrested a week before the recent Illinois primary on the charge of accepting a bribe. For the next he was quiet and perhaps the weekend before the election embattled.

See I got wind of a rally held for Smith. A shameless display I could only imagine, that had US Congressman Danny Davis speaking for him. They made sure votes know it's either Smith or the ex-Republican. Whatever it was, it got Smith through the primary. Wednesday however is a much different story.

Now it seems various people in state government. The Republican leader of the Illinois House who just wasn't able to get his story straight as to what happened in the case of Rep. Smith. That is a statement was put out by the Republican leader said Smith took a bribe from a nursing home operator as opposed to a day care center operation as had actually been the case. Also now the Republican caucus wants an investigative committee similar to what helped get Rod Blagojevich impeached and removed from office.

You're wondering about the Democrats of course. Well it seems there are some behind the scenes wrangling. It appears Smith himself doesn't have clean hands. He was fired from a city job which it shouldn't have been very easy to get fired from but he was. Even then he should've had it made as a major political figure engineering his appointment to a state legislative seat.

That major figure just so happen to be our Secretary of State Jesse White. He took a stand against the appointment of Roland Burris to the US Senate by Blago. Although the only thing he did was refuse to affix his signature to some credentials. All the same he played a role to bring Smith to the state level and now we see the results of that. Another result is he himself is calling for Smith to step down the day after the primary.

Some ire is raised at the Speaker of the state house. He's often been portrayed by many as doing everything it takes to maintain his majority. But surely in this moment he's working behind the scenes to get Smith out. That being said his silence in this situation has been deafening for sure.

What's likely to happen is that when Smith finally resigns the seat he had been appointed to last year, White and Madigan surely will be vetting the successor. Needless to say this story will continue to unfold!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Richard J. Daley: Republican

Richard J. Daley - Chicago Daily News
In 1936, the future Mayor of Chicago Richard J. Daley - a man who as a Democrat will become known as the "Last of the Big City Bosses" - ran for Illinois House of Representatives as a write-in candidate. Daley did so as a Republican believe it or not. He was successful and actually caucused with the Democratic side instead. Read on at John Schmidt's blog!

Why I am Not Voting - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

Why I am Not Voting - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

Generally I don't support the idea of compulsory voting, however, I can share the frustration of many who may choose to sit out any given election. That shows discontent as any thing else. People in Illinois are voting for people or in elections that no one seems to stand out. That's true everywhere of course.

It's primary day in Illinois

[VIDEO] This video is from the AP, talking about the primary here in this state. It's a little over two and half minutes.

I haven't voted yet this morning but will so I can start my day today. Also it's not possible for me to watch as much as the coverage on TV as possible. I'll probably have to read about it later.

Also, unlike in previous years eyes are on Illinois especially for the Republican race for the Presidential nomination. Who will Illinois go for today on the Republican side?

I learned not too long ago that there aren't any major statewide races to be concerned about this year. This year no US Senate seats are up for election this year in Illinois.

Either way looking forward to the results of tonight's election!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Going for "Obamabucks"

[VIDEO] I got wind of this from The O'Reilly Factor.

Dunno what to say about this other than to just shake my head. The people in this video have no clue. They want free money, one lady apparently has no idea what food stamps are, another man insists he must have welfare because his ancestors helped to build this nation as slaves. I really was besides myself with that man who claimed slavery as a reason he should get welfare. The gall of some people.

I could've gotten wind of this if I had HBO so that I could watch Real Time with Bill Maher. I don't and I'm uncertain if I would be a regular watcher of this program. This brief video by Alexandra Pelosi - daughter of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi - would've been something I would've liked to have seen on TV. Still this is some unbelievable piece of digital journalism.

Hopefully many of you would be upset at this as well. I definitely am!

CapitolFax: West Side Democrats rally for arrested legislator

A round-up and Rich Miller's syndicated column talking about the west side State Representative Derrick Smith. US Congressman Danny Davis apparently rallies support for Rep. Smith who was arrested y the Feds earlier this month on charges of outright bribery. He was appointed last year to the house seat after the original incumbent had moved up to the state Senate.

The rallies for this "embattled" appointed freshman legislator may be to prevent a former Republican who just so happens to be white to win the Democratic primary in this Black-majority district. It's almost as if Danny Davis and others want voters in that part of town to forgive that Smith has been busted for something criminal.

BTW, I like how Miller refers to Smith as "Rep. Genius". Very mean, but what can be said about that. Other than what he got busted for Smith has demonstrated that he's someone who is in over his head in that world. He's surely not the only one, but I'm sure for many the fact that he got busted for attempting to get $7K from a daycare center operator tells them something!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

John Stossel's Illegal Everything

[VIDEO] All 42 minutes of this program which I just saw on FOX News was uploaded onto YouTube. Enjoy it while it lasts because I'm pretty sure someone will take this video down in the future.

The basic point of this program was to show all the laws in this nation that prevents people from doing things. Laws that prevent people from opening a simple lemonade stand. Laws that prevent people from filming police officers. Also regulators who won't let up in spite of a legal opinion or verdict. Also a compare and contrast of how different nations (for example Portugal vs. USA) handle the drug war. In fact it was a diatribe against the prohibition of both drugs and alcohol prostitution.

It was very interesting and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. Of course you should watch the vid first!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mitt Romney/Ron Paul alliance...

I had to click through several links to find this. If the Republican primaries have all been about finding the "anti-Romney" then Mitt Romney will need something to generate some excitement so that he can beat Obama in November. The question is what is it that need need. Perhaps an alliance with US Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is one possible answer:
Even as they tamp down rumors of a pact, Paul’s advisers concede that the friendship between Paul and Romney is the initial step toward a deal. And behind the scenes, discussions between the two campaigns — as well as initial discussions with the Santorum and Gingrich camps, according to one Paul adviser — are slowly taking shape.

An alliance could benefit both camps. Paul’s support would go a long way toward helping Romney with a bloc of young Republicans who have been turning out in huge numbers for Paul and who otherwise might stay home in November. It might also help Romney grab all of Paul’s delegates. Such an arrangement would help Paul get what a Romney ally called “an important speaking role at the convention.”

Paul’s camp contends he will exceed the 270 delegates Romney garnered in 2008, which earned him an undercard slot on the penultimate evening in St. Paul. Josh Putnam, a political scientist at Davidson College who studies delegate allocation, notes that Paul’s campaign hasn’t furnished evidence to back up those claims. But he says there is a chance Paul could “completely exploit the system and take delegates from caucus states where there’s no written rule to how delegates are allocated.” Paul’s aides say they expect to win a plurality of delegates in a batch of blue-to-purple caucus states where Paul failed to win the popular vote, including Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, Nevada and Washington.
Maybe so, but at 76, Paul is understandably concerned about the future of his movement. Aides say if Paul can’t win the nomination, four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative’s wish list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch’s right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such as an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation. Paul might also be enticed, says campaign chairman Jesse Benton, by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or “perhaps a vice presidency.”

Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now — or even being mentioned for it — would be a helpful step. Says one Paul adviser: “If you’re talking about putting Rand on the ticket, of course that would be worth delivering our people to Romney.”

Romney is unlikely to go for that. At the same time, Paul’s backers recognize that selling supporters on an alliance with Romney carries special risks, since Paul’s bond with his backers is predicated on his record of principled stands. A pact would have to be done “very cautiously,” says Benton. “We wouldn’t ask our people to do that if we worried they were just being co-opted or that we were in some way selling out.”

But it may soon be time for Paul’s army to decide if it wants to win or lose in the fall. “There’s clearly something going on between the two of them, and that’s a very good thing,” says David Adams, a Kentucky Tea Party strategist who helmed Rand Paul’s Senate primary campaign. “The main goal is stopping this lurch to the left. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul can go a long way toward healing what ails our nation.”
If I was Rand Paul I was serve one term in the US Senate before taking a VP slot. As for Ron Paul if he wants his agenda to be advanced hopefully he is talking to the eventual nominee. It may not be the perfect fit but certainly it seems as if not a lot of Republican really want either Ron Paul or Romney. I can understand about Paul for sure Romney is not so easy other than many just don't think he's conservative enough. Although to be sure I wonder if that could be said about former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

OK so I got this link via Instapundit clicked through there to DailyPundit then Reason and then finally to Time magazine which is where I got this quote. WHEW!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blago goes to prison and more Illinois corruption...

[VIDEO] The video above is raw video provided by AP. I didn't really follow all the coverage today. People were cheering him before he left Chicago and apparently there were those who cheered him on as he headed towards prison. I really have little idea as to what to say about that.

On CLTV, they talked about Blago going to prison. There was one viewer call taken on air which was very sympathetic for the governor. In fact they went so far to say he is a man of God and he has not broken down yet! Unbelievable but oh well people for whatever reason like who they like.

When people talk about his legacy to Illinois it will be that he left the state in continued financial turmoil even inspite of his need to tout his record such as health care for children or free transit rides for senior citizens. He wasn't worried about paying for such entitlements just putting it out there so he can have a political career. As we know now he practically was cynical about free health care for children. In fact one of those charges against involved attempting to extort money from a children's hospital.

Anyway, now is the time to let the man go into prison. A lot of people like to mention the family he leaves behind outside of the prison walls in Colorado. He does have two young daughters and I try to remember that they're not responsible for all the wrong he did. Hopefully they get something from this.

As for the second part of this posting well Illinois still pays the price for those politicians who still do wrong. This article from the Chicago Tribune takes aim at the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives:
The powerful Illinois House speaker and Democratic Party chairman won't comment on whether a lawmaker charged with bribery should step down just days before the primary election.

A spokesman said Thursday that Michael Madigan is "reviewing" the situation surrounding the arrest of Chicago Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith. The spokesman would not elaborate.

Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady is criticizing Madigan. He says the Democratic leader should "publicly condemn" Smith's action.

Madigan's campaign fund has provided more than $60,000 in assistance to Smith's primary campaign - more than any other Democratic legislative candidate.
For those who want to criticize Madigan, not sure what to say here. I don't think it's in the best interest of the caucus to allow a man who was arrested for outright bribery to become the nominee for a state house district. Bad form but Smith is in the hot seat right now not me and only he can do the right thing now that the spotlight is on him.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patrick's Day...

[VIDEO] The video above is of the Chicago River being dyed green on March 12th in time for St. Patrick's Day. The festivities for the main parade in downtwon Chicago will occur this coming Saturday.

The neighborhood version of the St. Patrick's Day parade took place this past Sunday in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. This was the first time it was held in three years after several fights and arrests marred the 2009 parade. It went from a neighborhood affair to something that got a bit too big.

BTW, I took this pics on Tuesday afternoon of a bag pipe band not only going into the office of City Treasurer Stephanie Neely at City Hall but also this same band - Shannon Rovers - and the court of the St. Patrick's Day Parade making an appearance at the Thompson Center food court. This was the first time I ever witness any musician playing bagpipes. Never thought I'd see the day!

Also the last pic in this series is of the fountain at the Daley Center. I've seen it in orange for Halloween and on Tuesday green for St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And on the same track as the previous post...

Yesterday another Illinois politician goes down for corruption:
Just one week before Election Day, State Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested by federal agents Tuesday and charged with bribery for allegedly accepting $7,000 in cash for supporting a $50,000 state grant he believed a day care center was seeking.

Smith, who was appointed to his seat last year, did not realize he was dealing with an under-cover informant when he had conversations about arranging the grant and the bribe, according to the criminal complaint.

Smith, a Democrat who represents the 10th District on the West and Northwest sides, was charged with one count of accepting a bribe. The 48-year-old appeared in court this afternoon and was scheduled to be released on a $4,500 personal bond.

Smith is a protege and former precinct captain of Secretary of State Jesse White and childhood friend of Ald. Walter Burnett. The 27th Ward alderman once described Smith as “like a brother to me.”

Smith was appointed to the House seat last year after Annazette Collins was appointed to the state Senate. He is now locked in a primary battle with Tom Swiss, a former director of the Cook County Republican Party who is running as a Democrat in the overwhelmingly Democratic and majority African American district.
I got the article above from a round-up of stores over at the Capitol Fax and also read about the arrest here. If you read that whole Sun-Times article you will see that that state legislative race is a huge mess. A majority Black district with a white opponent in the Democratic primary who used to be involved with the Cook County Republican Party.

Oh and I also thought about the situation over there. So Smith was appointed last year to replace Annazette Collins who moved up to the state Senate. And Sen. Collins has her own issues as Jesse White removed her support to former Mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins - if you recall last year she was derided as a crack addict by Carol Mosely Braun - and possibly one reason for White's reversal on Collins was because she couldn't prove she resided in that state Senate district.

It's a mess!

AP: On Last Day Free, Blagojevich Offers Last Words

[VIDEO] A lot of us well I'm not quite sure about that, but this day was a long time in coming. Our former Governor Rod Blagojevich is going to report for custody to federal prison. Those who've really deride him think of this as another political speech and insist he still has no clue what hit him when he was convicted in his second trial.

Anyway, Capitol Fax gave a brief run down of Blago's statement but he had had enough before the end of it. If I had caught the whole event who knows I'd have gotten tired of it as well. Was this even compelling enough to follow all the way through?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Capitol Fax: Pat Quinn’s softer side

Rich Miller at CapFax praises a piece by local broadcaster Bob Sirott. Mainly looking at how Gov. Quinn going around Harrisburg, IL which was hammered by severe storms within the past week. He was still there even after the TV cameras went away. He was even compared to former President Gerald Ford who had to succeed the disgraced Richard Nixon who resigned the Presidency.

BTW, I'm no less a fan of Quinn's performance in office since he became Governor. It leaves a lot to be desited but one point is true that he's bringing some semblance of honor to the office of Governor of Illinois. His former running mate, one Rod Blagojevich who had been removed from office in 2009, certainly left a stain on the office due to his own transgressions. Also Blago's immediate predecessor George Ryan left a stain of his own except he was sent to prison for crimes that took place before he even became Governor.

We're being reminded that Illinois has two former Governors in prison right now and these governors served back to back to each other. Still let's be glad that we have a person who is a genuine one and very honest in his conduct. Let's hope that our state can find such leaders to lead Illinois in the future!

BTW, I did that image in photoshop not long after Rod Blagojevich had been ousted from the Governorship over three years ago!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dick Morris in Chicago...

[VIDEO] John Ruberry of Marathon Pundit has video from an event Saturday night. Dick Morris spoke Saturday night at a fundraiser for Chicago Republican William J. Kelly who seeks to become the Republican Committeeman for the 42nd Ward. If you're not familiar with Chicago wards the 42nd ward mostly encompasses the downtown area.

Anyway, Morris took a serious shot at the state of Chicago and Illinois politics in the vid above. He referred to the Chicago Republicans as pathetic and also stated that Chicago is slowly becoming Detroit.

I've often attempted to follow the Republican scene in Chicago. Often the Republicans of the 42nd Ward consider themselves the most dynamic GOP organization in Chicago. Certainly it helps that they're out of downtown Chicago where the money is. That's not an indictment at all, the ward still elected a Democratic alderman and that area of the city have yet to actually elect a Republican Alderman. In fact the last Republican Alderman in Chicago had been elected from the northwest side's 41st ward.

Incidentially in my own ward - The Sixth Ward - there is a very dyanmic race for Democratic Committeeman between Ald. Roderick Sawyer & Richard Wooten. This is a rematch of sorts from last year's aldermanic election where Ald. Sawyer knocked off a long time incumbent in a run-off and Wooten himself placed third in the actually municipal election.

Also in the 6th, is the race for GOP Committeeman. Three men are running including the incumbent committeeman. Alas only one has been as of yet visible as I've actually seen him at a local candidates forum introducing himself. Another local blog referred him as being very visible as his two opponents, especially the incumbent has yet to be heard from.

In attempting to follow Republicans in Chicago it gets interesting and we find out quickly why they rarely if ever make headway. We've got many who refuse to stick their neck out, a lot of infighting, or even a realization that they have very little influence with Chicago voters.

To be sure bringing Dick Morris into the city could help a fledgling Republican organization in Chicago, but the question is would he bring legitimacy to any Republican campaign? With all things time will only tell!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Higher Education: Save the males?

Hmmm, this article doesn't exactly mention the nature of the gender discrimination against men in the technical and scientific fields. I can only guess at what they're referring to:
Should colleges and universities adopt affirmative action for men? By their own standards, the answer appears to be yes. Economist Mark Perry calls attention to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows that for every hundred men who have a bachelor's degree by age 24, a whopping 148 women of the same age do.

In every other academic realm, the existence of a statistical disparity — such as the fact that fewer men than women pursue advanced degrees in certain science and technology fields — is taken as definitive proof of gender discrimination.

For instance, in 2010 the American Association of University Women lamented the "striking disparity between the numbers of men and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," and concluded that "we must take a hard look at the stereotypes and biases that still pervade our culture. Encouraging more girls and women to enter these vital fields will require careful attention to the environment in our classrooms and workplaces and throughout our culture."
My guess is that in encouraging girls to enter careers in the technical and scientific fields that may be causing hostile environments for the young men. Either that or the men aren't encouraged as much as the ladies.

Via Instapundit!

Friday, March 09, 2012

FDIC takes over another bank and has a connection with an indicted former Chicago Alderman...

A now defunct bank!
If you follow the business pages of Chicago newspapers, we've been knowing about this for a while. The indicted former Alderman in question is Bill Beavers. He had been indicted last month for tax evasion - mainly he had been using campaign funds as income but failed to report it for taxing purposes. Anyway this bank failure doesn't appear to be related to his indictment however this connection is noted because Beavers had not only been an investor, but a vice chairman as well:
New City Bank, the South Michigan Avenue lender for which indicted Cook County Commissioner William Beavers is vice chairman, was closed today by state banking regulators.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. couldn't find another bank to take on the assets and deposits, and instead will pay back depositors up to the $250,000 limit at which the FDIC insures deposits.

New City had $72.4 million in deposits and $71.2 million in assets as of year-end 2011.

The bank was launched in 2003 by a group of local investors, including Mr. Beavers, a South Side alderman at the time. Mr. Beavers, who was indicted last month on charges of tax evasion, holds a small stake in the bank, which now will be wiped out. He denies any wrongdoing.
It did at least have on notable account:
The FDIC now will take ownership of the bank's assets, including loans to U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Chicago, who ran into brief trouble with New City a few years ago over non-payment of property taxes on a home on which the bank held a mortgage.
More from the Sun-Times:
The shutdown will cost the FDIC’s insurance fund about $17.4 million, the agency said. As of Dec. 31, New City reported $71.2 million in assets and $72.4 million in deposits. It is the 13th FDIC-insured bank to fail this year nationwide.

The bank’s most recent listing of its officers on its web site omitted any mention of Beavers, who is accused of failing to pay taxes on more than $226,000 in campaign funds he allegedly converted to personal use.
This bank failure even hit the AP wires, the first two sentences of that article:
Regulators have closed a small bank in Chicago, the 13th U.S. bank to fail this year.

By this time last year, 23 had been shuttered.
The Sun-Times noted the last Chicago area bank to fail which was early last month. So far in Illinois according to Marketwatch, New City Bank was the second to fail this year!

Here's the bank's website, there's nothing there other than the fact that the regulators had closed the bank and the FDIC had been named its reciever! Another unusual aspect is that another bank could be found to take it over so it was noted at the Sun-Times that:
The FDIC said it will hold all assets of New City for later distribution and that customers should make loan payments as usual.  

Thursday, March 08, 2012

FDIC sues leaders of failed Broadway Bank

2010 US Senate Democratic nominee and former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias' family-owned bank still can't stay out of the news. According to Crain's:
Federal bank regulators have sued two brothers of former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in connection with the failure of the family's Broadway Bank in 2010.

Also a defendant in the $104 million lawsuit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago, is well-known Chicago real estate developer Sean Conlon, who served on Broadway's board.

In the complaint, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alleges that Demetris Giannoulias, who was Broadway's president and CEO beginning in 2006, and George Giannoulias, who was chairman of the board, along with other board members ignored regulatory warnings and approved “grossly imprudent” commercial real estate loans that resulted in millions in losses, which ultimately were borne by the FDIC when the bank failed.

The suit doesn't name Alexi Giannoulias as a defendant. Alexi Giannoulias was an officer at Broadway before getting elected Illinois treasurer in 2006.

The litigation long had been anticipated given the spectacular collapse of a bank that for years was the most profitable in the state and was a major political issue during Mr. Giannoulias' run for the Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Hat-tip Newsalert!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Went to see the Morehouse Glee Club last night

Glee Club and Morehouse Alumni sing college hymn on stage
It hits me that 2011 and 2012 marks a milestone in my own personal history with Morehouse College. In 2001, I was accepted to Morehouse for the first time and Spring 2002 marked my first semester there. Back then I was talking a good game about supporting Morehouse, however, I have yet to put my money where my mouth is.

Anyway it's been 10 years since my acceptance and my first semester there. And of course after dropping out for a year and half due to money and it took me some time to finally graduate from Morehouse. I can't believe that it's been that long already. Where has the time gone?

Last night, I saw current Men of Morehouse perform at the Harris Theater. The Morehouse Glee Club came to Chicago and performed and impressed a lot of people who never got to see the Glee Club perform. This is the first concert I've been to involving the Glee Club. They often performed at college functions such as crown forums or even baccalaureate and commencement. Sometimes they perform at events such as that for the King Memorial.

Believe it or not, I hadn't planned on going. My mother just decided this was something she wanted to do and she had tickets through her job so we went last night. It was a great performance and say what you will about them the Glee Club has talent.

Here's an example of what they perform. They performed this very song last night in fact, "Betelehemu" [VIDEO]
This has encouraged my mother to support schools like Morehouse College. She may give a donation in the future and I would also be interested as well although I've yet to find a "Morehouse Man job". Also I have other goals as a function of being a Morehouse Man that I think would be valuable but I'll save that for another post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

NBC Chicago: Why Chicago Republicans Have To Run As Democrats

A posting at our local NBC affiliate's website describes Illinois' political history. In the early 1980s Patrick Quinn - our current Governor - had initiated a reform known as the Cutback Amendment that was adopted in a public referendum that gave Illinois the House of Representatives it had today.

Before 1982, there were 177 state Representatives elected from 59 legislative districts. In each of those districts there were three representatives per. A voter could distribute votes towards any candidate running for state representative in a system referred to as cumulative voting. This system enabled a minority party to get elected in a majority party district. As referenced by Edward McClelland it had the following effect:
The Cutback Amendment killed the Chicago Republican Party, ending the careers of such thoughtful legislators as Susan Catania, who used her office to rally constituents against Democratic state’s attorney Edward Hanrahan, hated by blacks for his role in the killing of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Catania also defied House Speaker George Ryan by supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. There wasn’t much he could do to control a Chicago Republican. The Cutback Amendment killed the independent legislator, too.
Currently there are 59 state senators and 118 state representatives elected to the Illinois General Assembly. Both senators and representatives represent single member districts.

There have been people who want to return to such a system that had existed in our state for over a century as it was noted by McClelland. Sadly in 2008, voters in Illinois voted down the possibility of a state constitutional convention where I'm sure it would've come up. One issue that killed that referendum over four years ago was pensions and that's something we're still debating in financially troubled times for governments around the nation. Of course in saying that, it's not to say it would've been adopted again anyway.

The rest of the article however was about how Republicans can't win in Cook County and Chicago. Some Republicans are forced to run in elections as Democrats and one potent example was of a former Republican ward committeeman who is running for state representative as a Democrat. Another challenger is noted here as she hoped to knock off the powerful speaker of the State House of Representatives. She's being accused of being a Republican plant.

Monday, March 05, 2012

American Rattlesnake: Remembering Breitbart

A friend had his own thoughts and unlike myself he actually met Andrew Breitbart and as you see on his post he displays a signed copy of one of Breitbart's books:
As heartbreaking as the loss of Andrew Breitbart is-not least to his widow and their four children-we must not forget that his ideas and spirit will persist. James O’Keefe, the young man who singlehandedly dealt a body blow to the institutional left’s keystone organization, continues to crusade for accountability among taxpayer-bankrolled political arms of the Democratic Party. As does Lila Rose, who has done to Planned Parenthood what her colleague did to ACORN, i.e. expose the underlying corruption of an organization shielded by its benefactors in Congress and allies in the media.

Both owe a debt of gratitude to Breitbart, as do all Americans whose eyes were opened by investigations credentialed journalists were unwilling to initiate due to timidity and ideological affinity for Breitbart’s targets. The complaisant relationship the press had with organizations and individuals it was ostensibly charged with covering was a recurring theme of his Andrew’s work, and highlighting the vast gulf between how the fourth estate views itself and what it actually does will ultimately be one of his most enduring legacies. The grassroots, investigative journalism that Breitbart encouraged is thriving-just look at who uncovered this administration’s coverup of Fast and Furious-even as media dinosaurs totter and topple.

That is the real bequest of Andrew Breitbart. He inspired-or should inspire-people to get off their asses and take charge of their country. To shake off the listless torpor our nation’s rulers and gatekeepers have conditioned us into complacently accepting and to effect real, lasting change in our communities. Not the sort driven by Harvard Law School or the Columbia School of Journalism, but change designed to expand the sphere of individual choice and autonomous decision-making. To reject the pretensions of power by those with no moral authority and to expand the freedom to do what you want to, regardless of how bien pensant it might seem at the National Press Club or in Hollywood production meetings.

That’s why the best way you could honor the memory of Andrew Breitbart is to emulate him. Go out there and do what Breitbart has done. A great way to start is by buying Righteous Indignation, which in addition to being a very entertaining autobiography is a wonderful how-to manual for grassroots political activists and citizen-journalists. Go and see Hating Breitbart when it’s released later this year, and discover what made this man tick. You’ll probably discover that it’s the same things which drive you, i.e. family, loved ones, and an abiding love for this country. Even if our passions take a different form, or our temperament is slightly more even-keeled, we all have some animating force that drives us. The job in this life is to cultivate and exploit that passion while we’re here, and whatever his shortcomings that is something that Andrew Breitbart always did, and it’s an example we should all try to follow in the short time we’ve been allotted.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

My thoughts on Andrew Breitbart...

On March 1st, conservative activist and webmaster Andrew Breitbart passed away suddenly he was only 43 years old. Oh and webmaster is probably an understatement as he own many websites (especially that allows internet users to follow the newswires and such. In addition to that he had many blogs that covered government, foreign affairs, and even Hollywood.

I've been wading in the internet waters for many years now finding a home at various web-forums that no longer exist today. I started blogging full-time in 2005, and would've liked to have followed in Breitbart's footsteps although there's no way for me to know where to start. Just that my interest wouldn't have necessarily been in being a ideological warrior.

I've never met Breitbart, but I do follow him on Twitter (@andrewbreitbart). He's often referred to as a happy warrior and it seems he relished a good fight and often found it on Twitter. That in addition to the real world where one can find videos of him arguing with random people out there.

One day I tweeted him asking why is he even responding or re-tweeting those knuckleheads on Twitter who don't like him. He didn't respond to me directly, however, I knew it was directed towards me in fact it was possible he sort of got smart with me. His response was along the lines of he doesn't really care and isn't really affected by those who insists on hurling insults and what not at him.

In that world, it's best not to be affected by people who would hurl insults at you. One would probably burn out quick and those who hate you will only be elated if they got a rise out of you. In some cases that's exactly what they do want to get you in trouble because you lost your temper.

It's unfortunate that  he won't be around to expel his passion any longer. His media empire still exists at least and hopefully will continue to exist. Sadly no more appearances on C-Span or even FOX News' Red Eye. Hopefully though there are a number of people who have followed over the years who can expel their passion over the issues that Breitbart cared about.

Friday, March 02, 2012

I wish I shared this guy's gumption...

[VIDEO] A guy riding a bus in Philadelphia brought a device that jams cell phone signals. Alas it's illegal and he could find himself in jail because as explained in this video these jammers could block emergency calls. Other than that he would be a hero to those who have no sense of how loud they are when on the cell phone. Other than using a jammer, there needs to be some lessons on ettiquette!