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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Back in 2003: Warriors among them

[VIDEO] This video produced by Evan Coyne Maloney features a group known as the Protest Warriors (PW). The PWs schtick if you will is to infiltrate protests with signs using the left's slogans against them at gatherings such as the San Francisco anti-war rally you're watching above.

This occurred close to 10 years ago and Maloney took a trip to the west coast to ask more questions of the anti-war crowd. While Maloney is still active as a filmmaker, PW doesn't appear to have survived. Founded by Kfir Alfia & Alan Davidson (or Lipton) they were once known for having a very active forum where people of different political ideologies debated. Unfortunately the forums were shot down on two occasions and it appears unlikely that they will return. An online store that sold merchandise has been shut down. Also while Kfir has moved on to other interests it was reported that Alan has since passed away!

I stated three years that PW would've been perfect for the events of the tea party and of the Occupy Movement. If only there had been some infiltration of Occupy rallies that occured last year and the year before that. Also the idea of infiltrating the events of the opposition may seem to be very passe now, there surely are just as many ingenious individuals such as Alan & Kfir who are able to protest those with whom they agree in such hilarious ways.

BTW, forgot to note the signs PWs used well it's safe to say the people to whom they were directed didn't take to them very well. It probably shows in the video above.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

NRO: The Death of the Family

Finding this article via Newsalert the title from there was "Single Mothers Mean Welfare State". Then I see that this piece written by Mark Steyn in fact starts off talking about gay marriage. What is Steyn saying?
Which of these alternative scenarios — the demolition of marriage or the taming of the gay — will come to pass? Most likely, both. In the upper echelons of society, our elites practice what they don’t preach. Scrupulously nonjudgmental about everything except traditional Christian morality, they nevertheless lead lives in which, as Charles Murray documents in his book Coming Apart, marriage is still expected to be a lifelong commitment. It is easy to see moneyed gay newlyweds moving into such enclaves, and making a go of it. As the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said just before his enthronement the other day, “You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship.” “Stunning”: What a fabulous endorsement! But, amongst the type of gay couple that gets to dine with the Archbishop of Canterbury, he’s probably right.

Lower down the socioeconomic scale, the quality gets more variable. One reason why conservative appeals to protect the sacred procreative essence of marriage have gone nowhere is because Americans are rapidly joining the Scandinavians in doing most of their procreating without benefit of clergy. Seventy percent of black babies are born out of wedlock, so are 53 percent of Hispanics (the “natural conservative constituency” du jour, according to every lavishly remunerated Republican consultant), and 70 percent of the offspring of poor white women. Over half the babies born to mothers under 30 are now “illegitimate” (to use a quaintly judgmental formulation). For the first three-and-a-half centuries of American settlement the bastardy rate (to be even quainter) was a flat line in the basement of the graph, stuck at 2 or 3 percent all the way to the eve of the Sixties. Today over 40 percent of American births are “non-marital,” which is significantly higher than Canada or Germany. “Stunning” upscale gays will join what’s left of the American family holed up in a chichi Green Zone, while beyond the perimeter the vast mounds of human rubble pile up remorselessly. The conservative defense of marriage rings hollow because for millions of families across this land the American marriage is hollow.
Also:
Underneath all this apparent “fairness” is a lot of unfairness. Entire new categories of crime have arisen in the wake of familial collapse, like the legions of adolescent daughters abused by Mom’s latest live-in boyfriend. Millions of children are now raised in transient households that make not just economic opportunity but even elementary character-formation all but impossible. In the absence of an agreed moral language to address this brave new world, Americans retreat to comforting euphemisms like “blended families,” notwithstanding that the familial Cuisinart seems to atomize at least as often as it blends.

Meanwhile, social mobility declines: Doctors who once married their nurses now marry their fellow doctors; lawyers who once married their secretaries now contract with fellow super-lawyers, like dynastic unions in medieval Europe. Underneath the self-insulating elite, millions of Americans are downwardly mobile: The family farmers and mill workers, the pioneers who hacked their way into the wilderness and built a township, could afford marriage and children; indeed, it was an economic benefit. For their descendants doing minimum-wage service jobs about to be rendered obsolete by technology, functioning families are a tougher act, and children an economic burden. The gays looked at contemporary marriage and called the traditionalists’ bluff.
Then finally Newalert lifts this conclusion from the final paragraph:
The most reliable constituency for Big Government is single women, for whom the state is a girl’s best friend, the sugar daddy whose checks never bounce. A society in which a majority of births are out of wedlock cannot be other than a Big Government welfare society. Ruining a nation’s finances is one thing; debauching its human capital is far harder to fix.
The article starts off with a conversation Steyn has who notes that gay marriage is an attack on marriage. Instead of this article being an attack of gay marriage it notes the many sociological issues that are occuring in this nation.

It seems to me the Christian right makes a big issue about marriage. From them we might hear that getting married has economic benefits and social stability. Although increasing Americans aren't going out of their way to get marriage they just simply shack up.

In this case, it's safe to say that this article is attempting to look at the big picture. The next question is, I can only wonder how the Supreme Court is going to rule on gay marriage.

The American Spectator: Shush!

Reading this write-up it reminds me of the one place that I haven't visited in a while, Harold Washington Library Center. During my visit they usually include spending some time on the computers however you do run into plenty of vagrants using computers or just sitting around. Thankfully, there haven't been any incidents although my goal isn't to become a victim of such individuals.

It's time for me to visit my local library and this time just avoid the computers since thankfully one is available at home. Just go over and check out some books as libraries were intended and it's been since since I did that.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reason: Hawaii's "Lone Ranger"


[VIDEO] Sam Slom is a State Senator in Hawaii. He's the only member of the Republican caucus in the upper house of that legislature. Slom talks with Reason.tv about his role being the only member of the opposition caucus in Hawaii's Senate.

It's a little hilarious but a serious interview. He even discussed the fact that there may have been other instances of one member of a minority party in a state legislature and even Hawaii's early political history and how in the early days it had been dominated by Republicans and somehow became a blue state where President Obama took 42% of the vote. It does make you wonder what happened.

BTW, let's add that Obama is a native son of Hawaii as he had spent his childhood there. The President is often considered a Chicagoan however he basically started his adult life and career in the "Windy City".

Via Instapundit!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Capitol Fax: This is how it’s done

And another lesson in the battle between the purists and the RINOs according to the CapFax. This time they expected Congressman Peter Roskam to discuss the drive to oust party chairman Pat Brady. He wouldn't take the bait and focused on the more important issues such as the economy, Illinois' finances, etc.

Again the drive to oust Brady is due in part to his support of gay marriage. There are more than a few social conservatives who take issue with that. However I'm sure some are upset with him over the shellacking the party took in last year's elections.

All the same here's Rich Miller's conclusions:
More Republicans ought to follow Roskam’s lead. These endless fights over an essentially powerless and meaningless party chairmanship, particularly when a hot-button issue like gay marriage is tossed into the mix, are nothing but counterproductive.

Too many Republicans believe that their real enemies are within their own party. Keep it up and y’all will be fighting over absolutely nothing.
As I've often liked to state, I don't buy into this RINO nonsense and I don't even know what it's supposed to mean. And it does no good if those "pure" Republicans aren't able to win an election. Core values are fine, but if you want to remain pure then you're not cut out for politics.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Huxley vs Orwell

You know I wanted to close Sunday out with that video posted earlier. Instead there's this comic that needs to be shared with you. At least for those of you who like to think philosophically.

What you will see is entitled: "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Huxley vs Orwell"

And the case is made amusing ourselves to death is what Aldous Huxley argues. Instead of fearing "big brother" he will entertain us and distract us from the issues we should really be concerned about.

It appears what George Orwell believes control over a populous will be more straightforward. That is some force will control our actions and our thoughts.

BTW, if you don't know who those two men are they are authors who primarily write science fiction stories. Huxley is know for Brave New World and I read somewhere that the film Demolition Man was allusion to that book.

On the other hand Orwell is mostly know for the book Nineteen Eighty-Four which was adapted into a film that was released in 1984! In fact the book was alluded to in a 1980s Apple Computers ad although it was unrelated to the movie.

It seems depressing, but this was a bit too powerful to not share. Something to consider.

Also I must admit, I'm not a voracious reader. It's time for me to read those books so that perhaps those references could be understood. And if you want to consider the arugments contained in comic, you're more than welcome to offer your two cents.

Via Instapundit!

VIDEO: The Dickson Experimental Sound Film



[VIDEO] It was very interesting to find this old film made near the end of the 19th century. Thomas Edison experiemented with sound film and it was an innovation that didn't take hold until at least the 1920s. It's almost like gradually introducing 3D to the movie going audience.

All the same that horn you see was the microphone and the sound was recorded on a wax cylinder. The recording was thought lost but it was found in 1964 and in 1998 and resynchronized with the film you see above. Let's remember that this was an experiment and therefore don't be surprised if the picture and sound aren't perfectly synchronized.

Anyway, something to entertain you during the course of the day.

ALSO, I linked to the wiki article above and because people have a tendency to analyze everything pay little attention to the two men dancing in this clip. Things were different at the end of the 19th century than they are at the start of the 21st!

Friday, March 22, 2013

10 years ago: Protesting the protestors at an anti-war rally



[VIDEO] The video you see above was produced by Evan Coyne Maloney and published February 18, 2003 on his website brain-terminal.com. It caused quite a stir at least amongst right-wing circles as this video put an eye on the anti-war protestors.

Maloney's purpose was to go beyond the hype seen in the mainstream media. They weren't going out of their way to speak to the protestors perhaps they were more interested in showing who were opposed to the war in Iraq. Showing their numbers as opposed to showing what these dissidents were really about.

This is in connection with the commencement of the controversial war in Iraq 10 years ago that I had chronicled earlier this week. In fact Chicago's public radio affiliate remembered the anti-war protest that shut down Lake Shore Drive during the same time period. What Maloney ran into in NYC a decade ago, I'm sure could've been seen in that crowd as well.

There's another milestone in this worth talking about and soon there will be another posting on this in the future.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Economist: The America that works - states v. federal government

This article from The Economist focuses on what's working here in the states. The bickering going on in Washington is one aspect of what's going on in this nation. If you want to see real progress, it's in the individual states:
Yet there is also another America, where things work. One hint comes from what those bosses like to call the real economy. Recent numbers from the jobs market and the housing sector have been quite healthy. Consumer balance-sheets are being repaired. The stockmarket has just hit a record high. Some of this is cyclical: the private sector is rebounding from the crunch. But it also reflects the fact that, beyond the District of Columbia, the rest of the country is starting to tackle some of its deeper competitive problems. Businesses and politicians are not waiting for the federal government to ride to their rescue. Instead, as our special report this week shows, they are getting to grips with the failings Congress is ignoring.

One reason for optimism is that America’s inventors are as busy as they have ever been, and its entrepreneurs are seizing on their ideas with the same alacrity as always. Investment in research and development as a share of output recently matched the previous record, 2.9% of GDP, set at the height of the space race. America is home to 27 of the 30 universities that put out the most-cited scientific research—and it is still good at developing those ideas. Although many countries possess big reserves of oil and gas trapped in impermeable rocks, American businesses worked out how to free that energy and then commercialised that technology at a rapid pace; the resulting “shale gale” is now billowing the economy’s sails.

Some of the money for fracking technology came from the federal government, but the shale revolution has largely happened despite Mr Obama and his tribe of green regulators. It has been driven from the bottom up—by entrepreneurs and by states like North Dakota (see article) competing to lure in investors with notably more fervour than, say, France.

This fits a pattern. Pressed for cash, states are adopting sweeping reforms as they vie to attract investments and migrants. Louisiana and Nebraska want to abolish corporate and personal income taxes. Kansas has created a post called “the Repealer” to get rid of red tape and pays a “bounty” to high schools for every vocational qualification their students earn in certain fields; Ohio has privatised its economic-development agency; Virginia has just reformed its petrol-tax system.

In this second, can-do America, creative policymaking is being applied to the very problems Congress runs away from, like infrastructure spending. While the federal government twiddles its thumbs, states and cities, which are much shorter of cash, are coming up with new ways to raise money for roads, bridges and schools. Chicago has a special trust to drum up private funds to refurbish decrepit city buildings. Indiana has turned to privatisation to raise money for road-building.

Even education is showing some signs of change. The states are giving America’s schools their biggest overhaul in living memory. Forty-five of them are developing new curriculums. Tests are becoming more rigorous, and schools and teachers are at last being held accountable for results. Thirty-eight states have reformed teachers’ pay, tying it, in many instances, to their students’ exam results. Forty-two now allow independently managed, but government-funded, “charter schools”. It is too soon to tell what this upheaval will yield, but a long overdue shake-up is finally under way.
Regulation, innovation, infrastructure, education: each of these is crucial to competitiveness. Put together the small things happening in the states, and they become something rather big. That is the essence of the America that works.
Of course let's note not all states are working the way you see in the examples here. Illinois continues to struggle and in fact there is even a debate over fracking here as well. This state is certainly looking for answers to jobs and economic growth and fracking is one although there are certain constituencies that want to get into the way of that.

In the meanwhile, the federal government is doing what it does and well certainly many are still waiting for leadership there.

Via Instapundit!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Capitol Fax: The dude still abides

Gov. Jim Thompson
Rich Miller writes about former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson. He served as this state's chief executive from 1977 to 1991 and served the longest tenure.

Basically Miller wrote a lot about some the comments he made at an event that took place last week. You can read a transcript of his comments here. Of course you can always read the CapFax if you want the shorthand version. It would be nice if there was YouTube footage of the former Governor's speech.

All the same, Miller has this conclusion:
Yeah, he made his share of mistakes, kicked his share of cans down the road. I could give you a very long list of all of that. But, man, the dude was a giant, and he loved every square inch of this state and had the skills to make his visions a reality.

This used to be a great state. We still are in many respects, but we’ve slipped partly because we’ve completely lost our confidence - and for good reason. Too many clueless governors and voters. Too much inertia, partisan and otherwise. Not enough vision.

I don’t know about you, but, personally, I’d vote for Big Jim if he ran again. This is exactly the sort of leader we so desperately need in Illinois right now.
A few years ago, I shared on this blog a photo of a long gone soul food restaurant located in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood called Gladys' Luncheonette. With that photo was a resolution passed by the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Thompson apparently was one of the many guests that came to eat. Alas all we have are photos of this place as I found that last year this old place has been demolished. I bring it up to note that even a Republican Governor has found his way to the "ghetto".

Check out the comments at the CapFax. It runs the gamut point out some of the Thompson's shortcomings during his time as Governor and showing his best aspects. Then talks about who follows him afterwards.

Jim Edgar, I barely remember but I'm sure many look up to him as Governor. In spite of being sent to prison George Ryan (who just so happens to be the last Republican Governor after a 25 year stretch) isn't viewed by me as a terrible governor. In fact Ryan was a marked difference to Blago and Quinn and who knows what would have happened had Ryan not been hobbled by the ugliness that came from his tenure as our Secretary of State.

The point to be made here is that Illinois needs a Thompson. Another point is that the Republicans need to step to the table and elect the next Thompson. Although the Democrats need such a figure themselves because the last two Democrats weren't quite the answer.

Pointing at the Republicans were another thing seen in comments. Even Miller made some comments about the kind of Republican Thompson was: "Tough, accomplished, governing-focused and pro-business but with a decidedly humane and moderate face."

One could say today's Illinois Republicans or conservatives are a far cry from Jim Thompson. In fact one could say many of them may have their principles and core values however a lot of them aren't electable either statewide or beyond their individual districts.

Anyway time will tell if Republicans or anyone else on the Democratic side are able to step up to the plate and help make Illinois a great state once again.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Iraq war started 10 years ago


[VIDEO] I was reminded while watching FOX's The Five that President George W. Bush announced the beginning of military operations to oust Iraqi President Dictator Saddam Hussein.This has been proven to be a very controversial decision and I'm sure opinion in various circles have been 50/50 in favor or opposed.

Still most would probably agree that Hussein was a bad guy who abused his people in his former nation and had engaged in some form of genocide. Which would lead to the one success of this operation at least Hussein himself was eventually captured and ultimately put to death for his crimes.

I'm not sure if there is any agreement over whether or not this action was justified. There's not entirely a lot of agreement over whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq. There may not be a whole lot of agreement as to whether or not Iraq or even the Middle East is better off without Hussein in power.

All the same it's a good thing to me that Hussein isn't in power over there. Iraq is now an experient in bringing a democratic republic to a predominantly Arab and Muslim nation. Let me just preferace that by saying that Iraq is a multi-religious society. Even in Hussein's regime he had some Christians in high level positions and at that Iraq had been described as a secular society.

If I may go backwards in time for a second. That night that this started I was home alone (yeah real scary right) and it was dark outside although it was probably 5 or so o'clock. Anyway I heard what was thought to be a thunderstorm explosion but as it turned out it was only thunder.

I began to believe the hype about how the terrorists were really going to put some American casualties on our soil. Of course to think reasonably if any terrorists were going to strike I was far away from such a target unless they had something far worse in mind. Anyway at least for the duration of our War on Terror operations in both Iraq and even Afghanistan most of the casualties suffered were over there involved our forces. A campaign point for many who supported these operations was that there wasn't another terrorist attack here on American soil.

In the future my goal is to share some examples of the hype. Some of the materials I'd like to share are reasons why I'm blogging today and of course most of them will be partisan in nature. Hopefully you will see some truth in them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Capitalism, Part 4

I wanted to do another capitalism post and then I thought about this movie I casually watched years ago entitled The Company Men. Lately I can relate to some of these movies that take place in the workplace or at least the job hunting arena whether serious or otherwise.

In any event The Company Men starred Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, and Kevin Kostner. Affleck's character is forced to take a job with his brother in law Kostner's character in order to make end meet after a downsizing. Jones is a long time employee of a company and after questioning the need for downsizing while the company is engaging in more spending on other projects he himself gets laid off. Cooper's character went from factory floor to a managing role at this company until he was laid off and is the most frustrated out of this whole group and he meets an unfortunate end in this movie.

In thinking about this film, I thought about how many people are faring in this era of slow economic growth. The recession of the last five or six years has been very difficult without a doubt and I'm sure it depends on where you may reside. It's also more difficult with the uncertainty coming from our elected officials who have to come to grips with various financial problems from taxes, new mandates, or even pensions.

With this uncertainty come the response for those of us who have jobs. Some may work at jobs that elect to cut their hours. Some may be concerned about being downsized. Right now it's not a very safe environment depending upon where you work today.

Also another thing to consider what you see in the movie is the battle with upper management as portrayed in this film by Craig T. Nelson. He's doing just fine, because he's stepping on his employees to keep himself in good shape and everyone else well their expendable as long as he's doing his job. One way to look at it is that he not only doing what's best for his company and the shareholders he's certainly doing what's best for himself.

That in and of itself is no big deal. What's problematic I suppose is how he's going about it. We could ask if it's OK for a CEO to take a paycut in a time of slow economic growth. Nothing says the man in charge has to make an inordinate amount of money and only to afford luxuries he doesn't necessarily need. Alas that mentality is out there and as long as anyone above him sees no problem, there isn't one.

BTW, I had to think. I don't follow business news as often as I should but it's still not often that we hear about layoffs. It used to be big news you could turn on the TV anytime and see some corporation downsizing people. In fact my mother herself was downsized from a downtown bank years ago and that round of downsizing was probably news in Chicago. Although let me take that back. It's news recently that the Sun-Times is downsizing their suburban operations to consolidate their downtown offices.

In any event even in this economy as we see in Company Men, Jones' character used many of the downsized people from his former company to staff his own venture. He was a high level executive so he's shouldn't have been struggling that much.

Knowing that a lot of ground was covered between a movie and some real life examples it still doesn't shake my belief in capitalism. Realizing the environment is tough right now that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities. Still here's to me wishing that in the future the environment will get much better for us all!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

AMC Empire 25: I think I really want to visit this place one day...


Photo by bretchburg
A friend of mine had talked about the highest grossing theaters in this nation. And such a theater is located in NYC and I asked a friend of mine about the busiest theater in NYC and he didn't mention this place. Also he kinda of just dismissed the idea of a 24 hour cinema as being as seedy as the pr0n theater we saw in Taxi Driver.

In any case this just has to be a monster to administer day in and day out. A slow day would would still be busy compared to many theaters in this country outside of this part of NYC. MAN! This article was from 2011, BTW.
It's just past 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, and at least a dozen people waiting to be let in are peering anxiously through the glass doors of the AMC Empire 25 on 42nd Street in Times Square. One man is pacing the lobby, having slipped through unnoticed when an electrician entered.

The doors open, and the customers quickly buy their tickets, disappearing up the network of narrow escalators leading upstairs to five levels of auditoriums. Two buy tickets for the indie comedy Win Win, and three tourists from California are going to see the animated Hop. An elderly man says he's hard of hearing and wants the loudest auditorium sound possible. He's in luck; there is both an Imax and an ETX theater, AMC's version of Imax that vibrates with bass. Today, Hanna, an arty action pic, is the ETX offering.

Most multiplexes in the U.S. don't open until noon and, if they did open earlier, would be hard-pressed to get any traffic. But early openings are all in a day's work for the Empire, which accommodates more than 2 million moviegoers annually. It's been the top-grossing theater in North America for years -- a surprising fact, even within the film business, given that it doesn't have bells and whistles like reserved seating or high-end dining. Not to mention that 42nd Street is best associated with the surrounding Broadway legit theaters (and, of course, the often seedy history of Times Square).

The story of how the Empire -- which has gone from Broadway theater to burlesque house to shuttered operation -- came to be the U.S.' busiest theater is emblematic of the resurgence of Times Square and New York City's tenacious ability to reinvent itself. Beyond its singular success, the Empire offers a profile of how the modern multiplex -- albeit one on steroids -- operates. Individual movies are assigned screens based on their drawing power, and the number of screens can change quickly from one day to the next. To maintain cost-effectiveness, staffing is constantly adjusted based on projections about how upcoming movies are expected to perform. And even orchestrating the concession lines is a near-science.
When I finally do embark on my NYC adventure this is going to be one of the many places I should visit at that point. My goal was to do a TV taping and then see some of the architecture and possibly even go to Harlem. Perhaps I should do this before my next visit to LA. :)

BTW, visit the AMC page for this venue here!

Friday, March 15, 2013

This is really old news but we have a new Pope!


[VIDEO]I'm two days late but hey better late than never. This blog was around when the now retired Pope Benedict was elected Bishop of Rome in 2005. He retired earlier this year and now the Roman Catholic Church and Vatican City now has a new leader and his name is Francis I.

BTW, in the speculation as to who will be the next Pope could be an America. Well this Pope is American, except he's from Argentina. Meaning he's from Latin America.

I do wonder from the time of the white smoke to the unveiling how long did it take for Francis to change from his regular Cardinal uniform to his Pope outfit?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So we have another trial involving a corrupt former Alderman coming up

The Capitol Fax has a round-up of stories about the trial of former 7th Ward Alderman Bill Beavers. He's being tried for tax evasion in federal court. This report was about a gag and the usage of the "race card" by Bill Beaver's defense team. They're upset that while some Black women were appointed to this jury there are no Black men.

Beavers has established himself as a colorful character. He's old school having been in politics for better than 40 years. He's opening his big mouth in ways the colorful politicians of years ago are doing it.

Well in any case, in addition to being a former Alderman he also is currently a Cook County Commissioner. That's when I really got to know him as he got himself involved after the incapacity of the late Cook County Board President John Stroger. Beavers took his seat on the county board and Stroger's son Todd was installed as County Board President himself for one-term!

I usually don't follow these trials but it shall prove to be interesting.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Study: Even ancient mummies had clogged arteries

They did some scans of some ancient mummies from mainly Egypt and other areas around the world such as Peru. These are their findings according to the AP:
Even without modern-day temptations like fast food or cigarettes, people had clogged arteries some 4,000 years ago, according to the biggest-ever hunt for the condition in mummies.

Researchers say that suggests heart disease may be more a natural part of human aging rather than being directly tied to contemporary risk factors like smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising.

CT scans of 137 mummies showed evidence of atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, in one third of those examined, including those from ancient people believed to have healthy lifestyles. Atherosclerosis causes heart attacks and strokes. More than half of the mummies were from Egypt while the rest were from Peru, southwest America and the Aleutian islands in Alaska. The mummies were from about 3800 B.C. to 1900 A.D.

"Heart disease has been stalking mankind for over 4,000 years all over the globe," said Dr. Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City and the paper's lead author.
Still with this finding, it's advisable to continue living a healthy lifestyle. That is don't smoke and eat healthy!

Via Instapundit!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

VIDEO: Conan shuts down a "Harlem shake" shoot



[VIDEO] This aired on Conan last week. Quite hilarious and alas it just shows how late I've been to viral video trends. All the same it was hilarious, Deon Cole one of Conan's writers finds himself in the "time out" corner because he attempted to do a viral video at work. Conan's response to it in the course of the vid was hilarious itself and even being in the time out corner Cole attempts to do the shake again!

Well let me amend that they didn't show the part afterwards here. They should've included it anyway.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

So I suppose the IL GOP aren't going to boot their chairman afterall...

By the time I read this it was old news but this was the expected outcome anyway:
The Illinois Republican Party central committee has canceled Saturday's scheduled meeting in which it was to consider firing party chairman Pat Brady.

Some committeemen wanted to oust Brady, largely because he publicly supported gay marriage when a bill was before the state Legislature earlier this year.

A member of the Illinois Republican Party's central committee says a meeting was canceled partly because there weren't enough votes to fire party chairman Pat Brady.

A meeting had been scheduled for Saturday. It was canceled Friday night amid pressure from prominent Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and House Republican Leader Tom Cross.
There was a quote in this piece from NBC Chicago's Ward Room that a spokesman from Sen. Mark Kirk's office stated that "it's time to move on." Let's hope that this will be the case and the state party can be able to refocus.

And whether or not he took a position contrary to his party's platform I still wonder if Brady needs to be replaced. Only the state party can answer that question and perhaps without going the route of social conservatism. That is to find a path to victory in a blue state!

What's going on with the state Republicans?

From IL GOP FB page
It was on Thursday night that I wrote about the dissension in the Illinois GOP. Discontent was brewing for a while over the state Chairman Pat Brady's public comments in support of gay marriage in Illinois. That brought out the social conservatives of the party who have made some noise about having Brady removed as chairman.

On Friday, according to the CapFax we see that effort appears to flounder a bit. Although Brady seems to have fired a broadside at one of his potential allies. Although in an update that ally has elected to abstain from such a vote. At that the meeting to decide if Brady will remain chairman could be postponed. This meeting was to take place on Saturday.

Also in other state GOP news, Peter Bella writes about how the IL GOP doesn't even have the 2nd Congressional District special election on the radar. It's something to be expected especially in a district that's solidly Democrat. That may also mean whatever negative attention the Republican nominee may have gotten in his run - he is an ex-con - he's not likely to get much help combating the negative media on that.

Also Greg Hinz at Crain's also takes aim at the attempt to remove Chairman Brady. I always somewhat viewed the State GOP as moderate. It probably has to be now given the fact that Illinois is now a solidly Democratic state and more open to gay marriage than ever before. There's nothing wrong with social conservatism, but apparently depending upon the messenger it seems to be a scary ideology although it depends on who's doing the listening.

Anyway Hinz breaks it down this way:
Mr. Brady's critics say he's done a poor job of managing the party, which got absolutely shellacked here in the November elections and faces severe financial problems. He's also unlucky enough to be the party boss at a time when infighting between the GOP's long-dominant big-business wing and its feistier social conservatives is getting intense.
OK, so in a depressed economy we need people who are about business out there more than ever.

As for doing a poor job of managing the state party well it seems since George Ryan left the governorship in 2003 the state party hasn't done very well. It continues to founder at least from its more dominant days when it held the governorship for approximately 25 years and had control of at least one house of the state General Assembly. It should've been the death blow when they had to replace the Senate nominee in 2004 when there was great interest in his divorce and the state party selected the volative Alan Keyes to run against one Barack Obama!

The point to be made here is that the state party has had their issues for years and no matter who has been chair the party seems unable to really make the necessary changes. What Brady is known for is attacking the powerful speaker of the lower house of the General Assembly Michael Madigan sadly that hasn't gotten to the party anywhere. The next question must be where's the direction.

Whether Brady is able to stay or is removed isn't that the question Republicans must ask now?

Friday, March 08, 2013

Ward Room: Rev. Jesse Jackson Attends Hugo Chavez Funeral

Wow! This is unbelievable. Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson is going to Venezuela to visit the funeral of their fallen President Dictator Hugo Chavez.
Of all the people attending Hugo Chavez's funeral Friday in Caracas, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is among them.

The father of disgraced former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. confirmed his attendance on Twitter. He reportedly arrived Thursday night in Venezuela and will lead a delegation organized by his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Rev. Jackson told Fox News he knew the Venezuelan president "in a direct and personal way" and says he is "deeply saddened by his passing." Chavez presented Jackson with the Liberator's Award in 2005.
I've been slow on this news but the colorful leader of Venezuela has passed away earlier this week after his battle with cancer. Depending upon whatever news outlet you follow we see a lot of activists and actors from America paying their respects to Chavez who has been likened to a dictator.

What $20 gets you from 1998 to 2012...

I found this graphic at the FB page Culture of Black Chicago. It basically illustrates what a $20 bill could get you as far as groceries. As it turns out from 1998 to 2012 increasingly you get less groceries for $20. Perhaps you might get 5 items for that amount by 2012.

This comment probably explains what is going on in the ensuing 12 years:
it's only gonna get worse if folks don't wise up and get involved in a business that's gonna greatly increase their income. Nobody is holding the FED accountable for this mess. Anytime you continue to print money and flood our economy with paper that's not backed by anything real, you cause inflation. gas & food prices rise.
Now this causes me to do research on economic issues. In the circles I converse with online they complain a lot about inflation and fiat currencies. They wish for a return to the gold standard.

I wish there were some stats that accompanied this illustration.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Capitol Fax: Can Brady actually be ousted this weekend?

What is this about you may ask? Well it was about the IL GOP chairman's position on gay marriage which is gaining steam in the General Assembly. Still there seems to be some disagreement.

There are some members of the state party that wants to see Chairman Pat Brady continue in his current role. Also, Oberweis - a state senator who's leading the ouster effort - seems to want a big tent party although he himself doesn't support gay marriage.

Well, it makes me wonder if a "civil war" is brewing amongst this state's Republicans.

IL Channel: Do the Movies Advance or Distort History



[VIDEO] Last month at the Oscars Lincoln took away some awards mainly for best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis and also best production design. All the same it was a great movie to watch and we're still talking about that film.

The Illinois Channel - a C-Span style network that provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of Illinois state government and policy events - even jumps into the discussion of Lincoln. As we should all know the 16th President of the United States is considered a state hero. While there are many who may not be big fans of his time as President there are many who continue to look up to him. That is whether or not you may agree with his role in abolishing slavery or what not.

In any event, there was a panel at the Union League Club of Chicago where amongst others screenwriter Tony Kushner discusses how the film was written and produced. As a matter of fact Kushner was nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay of Lincoln. This shall be an interesting discussion.

I'm looking forward to watching this whole video which lasts a little over an hour!

ALSO for your reading pleasure my posting after watching Lincoln on New Year's Eve!


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

VIDEO: The K-12 Implosion

[VIDEO] I'm tempted to post this to my other often neglected Shedd School blog. Just concerned that the content of this video would turn off people who hopefully have the same questions about the education system as I do. Although in my case, no kids so there are no real worries for the system on my end. It's just that the goal for our young people is for them to get the best education no matter who provides it.

I've often expressed my frustration with my experience with the public schools especially high school  - GO FALCONS! Still my view of the system isn't entirely marred as my time in elementary school is still remember fondly. It lead me to an important philosophy in life, there are going to be ups & downs.

All the same, this video bounces off of a book The K-12 Implosion by Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds. A case is made that our education system still has aspects of the Industrial Revolution style-education embedded. One-size-fits-all can't work anymore as there are many different vocational/career paths out there in the 21st century.

Of course this doesn't mean the schools aren't trending in that direction. It's possible that they're just not doing that good of a job. Whatever the case may be what should a 21st Century education system look like? How can we truly revamp a 19th century system?

Like I stated already I have no children, however, the young people toiling in school today needs access to opportunities that will last them a lifetime. What this means is that we want them to pursue the many opportunities that will be available to them in the 21st century. Let us hope today's education policy experts are able to steer the system in that diraction.

LA Times: Bill Moody, 'Paul Bearer' dies

Well this caught me by surprise!
Bill Moody, 58, who entertained WWE fans for years as the spooky manager "Paul Bearer," died Tuesday evening.

Moody debuted in the WWE as Bearer in 1991, managing the supernatural Undertaker. Bearer was a former funeral director who guided Undertaker to the WWE title, until turning on him to start managing Undertaker's brother, Kane.

Moody left WWE as a full-time perfomer in 2002, but had returned sporadically since then. The cause of his death was not immediately known.

"WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Moody, a.k.a. Paul Bearer," the company said in a statement.
No pun intended, but may he rest in peace. I say no pun intended because in the beginning this was the Undertaker's catchphrase. Below in the [VIDEO] is some of Paul Bearer's finest moments in the WWF (get the E out!).

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

VIDEO: "Giant in the Sun" Northern Nigeria 1959



[VIDEO] This documentary is close to 20 minutes. I have yet to watch it, but I will share this description:
A production of the Northern Nigeria Information service in 1959 presents "Giant in the Sun" a short documentary showing the foundation laid down for the development of the Northern region just before Nigeria's independence in 1960.This is believed to be one of the earliest coloured film documentary shot in Nigeria and one of the best to come out from Africa.Nigeria will surely survive and recover her past lost glory by effectively and efficiently utilizing her abundant human and natural resources.
I post this realizing that as a man of African descent, this blog generally doesn't talk about Africa a lot. Perhaps when things in Africa are bad do I start talking about it. It's probably about time to look at the good things of Africa, even if those good things were in the past.

In 1959, Nigeria wasn't yet independent from the British Empire. I would be very curious what this film documents of the time before independence.

Hat-tip Instapundit!

Monday, March 04, 2013

The 2nd Congressional District Race

This seems like a case for Rebel Pundit who's been all over the 2nd Congressional District special election and how the Chicago mainstream media fails to cover Republicans. Now it seems the media seems to want to tear down the Republican candidate.

In fact at my other blog - The Sixth Ward - I wrote about the coverage of the Republican nominee for 2nd District Congressman Paul McKinley. A noted local political journalist named Mike Flannery seems to go out of his way to note the criminal history of Mr. McKinley. Wow, interesting coverage for a man who as a Republican isn't expected to even win this election which will commence on April 9th.

Anyway over at Ward Room - courtesy of Chicago's NBC affiliate - we see another attack against McKinley. He's compared to other "jokers" in the local Republican Party. As a matter of fact, he was compared to a Clown by Flannery. In this case the clown had run against former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1995. And then to a neo-nazi who ran in the southwest suburbs for a Congressional seat.

Hmmm, I don't know I can view this as an extreme. What's missed is that Mr. McKinley as an ex-offender has often campaigned as one who wants to prevent the "next offender". And that any criminal activity he's been involved with since his last stint in prison was mainly for his activist activities. If you will engaging in some form of civil disobedience.

While I may believe that any indication that the "Chicago machine" is concerned about McKinley's candidacy could just be well vastly overblown. Perhaps the reaction to the fact that he's an ex-con is another issue that's vastly overblown as well. In fact it was noted not long ago that his Democratic opponent Robin Kelly - who's likely to win this race - is facing ethics questions about her time as chief of staff to former Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

Anyway we have close to a month before Jesse Jackson Jr's former constituents will hit the polls to determine who will be their next Congressperson. Will there be a shake-up or will this race just fall into an expected general pattern?

Friday, March 01, 2013

A tale of two cities

IowaHawk compares Houston to Chicago. Demographic information and of course other important information such as conceal carry, murder rate, gun shops, or even average January temperature. And went off the rails with this comment: "Conclusion: cold causes murder."

They basically had me until that one. Otherwise hey, they was making a good point. 

Hat-tip Newsalert!