Monday, April 30, 2007

Illuminating Debate

Mark Steyn, Sun Times, RCP:
Everything's difficult, isn't it? In the Democratic presidential candidates' debate, Sen. Barack Obama was asked what he personally was doing to save the environment, and replied that his family was "working on" changing their light bulbs. Is this the new version of the old joke? How many senators does it take to "work on" changing a light bulb?
He goes on to take the Defeatocrats apart. I have to say, I only caught part of the debate, but I did see the lame light bulb bit, and I as far as I'm concerned Obama had a Dukakis-like moment, reminiscent of Dukakis detached response to an admittedly unfair question of what he would do if his wife were raped and murdered. In Obama's case, it was a fair question, on what he would do if two US cities had just suffered a terrorist nuclear attack. He talked about Katrina, "The first thing we'd have to do is make sure we've got an effective emergency reponse." Guess he's running for America's mayor. In contrast, America's Mayor is running for President.

Robert Kagan thinks Obama might be an interventionist. But his naysaying on the Iraq war and his limp initial response in the debate gives you an idea he doesn't really mean it. He's most likely in the liberal and Bill Clinton mode of intervention when our national interest is not at stake. But I wouldn't even count on that based on his Travels with Barry speech, (WaPo waiting for more clarity here--you'll wait a long time) and Bill's kind of policy made the world safe for Osama. And what world is Obama living in when he cites the EU as our closest ally, and has to be prompted to mention Israel? Very illuminating. Not enough decisive light bulbs going off in that professorial brain.

Postscript: And if you aren't persuaded by me, the karmic analysis bears me out:) No thumbs up yet for the Big O:
The Saturn/Jupiter conjunction could very well be the indicator that Obama is destined to bridge the gap between the conservatives (Capricorn) and the liberals (Aquarius). At its worst, this conjunction could show that the senator has high ideals but finds himself thwarted in his efforts to make them a reality.

The latter could very well be a problem. Take a look at the senator’s thumb in these photos. In every one of them the thumb starts out in a nice spread away from the palm, the mark of a doer, a person who can apply their will successfully in the world. But the top phalange then hesitates and turns back toward the palm, indicating difficulty following through in service to his highest self.

UPDATE: NY Times profiles Obama and his pastor. This is the first time I've heard this spin:

In the 16 years since Mr. Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard, Mr. Wright has presided over his wedding ceremony, baptized his two daughters and dedicated his house, while Mr. Obama has often spoken at Trinity’s panels and debates. Though the Obamas drop in on other congregations, they treat Trinity as their spiritual home, attending services frequently. The church’s Afrocentric focus makes Mr. Obama a figure of particular authenticity there, because he has the African connections so many members have searched for.

Related posts: The Trouble with Harry, Obama on the Spot Again

Phony Folksy Hillary

John Kass has an entertaining and pointed column on Hillary. In case you missed her latest bizarre Bill imitation--- intended phony folksy yes, unintended Bill baggage no:
"When I walk into the Oval Office in 2009, I'm afraid I'm going to lift up the rug and see so much stuff under there," she told the adoring crowd in a Southern accent, twanging her vowels. "You know, what is it about us always having to clean up after people?"
YouTube here. As I recall, (unlike some people), the Clintons' trashed the White House before they left and made off with a truckload of furniture, otherwise known as public property. (We won't mention that little room off the Oval Office that needed a super scrub.)

But what can you expect from a pink-suited liar who was so cheap she donated her husband's underwear to charity (wonder if it's resurfaced on eBay) to claim the deductions. (Yes, she inflated the value.) And yes, they are still doing stuff like this, including donating to her favorite cattle futures' broker's favorite charity.

As far as her accents go, anything is preferable to her usual flat, hectoring tones.

I would hazard she has a very tin ear, so as far as speaking French, I take comfort that the French will be subjected to one of the most atrocious American accents ever. She does have a fine mind, so perhaps she is fluent, but as I recall from The Devil and Daniel Webster, the devil spoke bad French very well.

UPDATE: Watergate reporter Bernstein takes apart Hillary's career story.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"War Against Boys" Author at NU

Northwestern University College Republicans

Christina Sommers is speaking on Tuesday, May 1st at 7:30. The event will be in Harris Hall, Room 107. She will be speaking about her new book, "War on Boys" and about Campus Feminism across the country. It should be a really great event. It is free and open to the public, so anyone you can invite is more than welcome to come. We'd love to have as many people there as possible.

Heads up from Evanston Republican Organization. I recommend Sommers' book, "The War Against Boys".

Freedom is Fragile

In a break with their tradition, the Saudi government allows a female-chaperoned group of American Muslim schoolgirls to travel on a pilgrimage to Mecca without a male escort. Tribune:
Without attributing too much significance to this one incident, other Muslims said Saudi Arabia might be feeling pressure to entertain interpretations of Islam that are less strict than those of the kingdom's Wahhabi clerics. As gatekeepers to Islam's holiest sites, they've been able to enforce traditions such as the mahram."They've been imposing their doctrine on the rest of the Muslims, and it's very unfair," said Assad Busool, a professor at the American Islamic College in Chicago. "There are a lot of rumblings about this, even in Saudi Arabia, so they must open up."
Is this a one-time event or a new approach? Is Saudi Arabia opening up Islam to modern moderation?

LGF makes a good point, it is a puff piece, not much context, not covering persecution of non-Islamic religions in Saudi Arabia, (what if members of another religion want to worship openly?) nor the Saudi push for sharia in Europe (as well as here):
By way of comparison, Saudi Arabia, whose Wahhabi clergy has dispatched missionaries to Western countries, does not allow a single Christian church."
Or the prevalence of honor killings--that might have some relevance in explaining why Saudi Arabia usually requires male escorts and their brand of Islam gives men such authority. Or how about polygamy?

Meanwhile, in Turkey, one of the few democracies in the Middle East, and one of the few with a secular tradition, people are engaging in mass demonstrations protesting a return to the "dark ages" of strict Islam.

And here in the US, "progressive" Burlington, VT progresses backwards, putting Al Jazeera on its city-owned cable, whose director describes it as "more objective and more mainstream than CNN". (Background on Al Jazeera.)

Freedom is a fragile thing. Especially in Saudi Arabia. Or maybe not too far in the future in Burlington. One good quote anyway in Chicago.

Related posts: Hirsi Ali Targeted, Heroes and Fools

Friday, April 27, 2007

Stephen Moore To Speak

(repeat post with correction)
New Trier High School graduate and founder of the Club for Growth Stephen Moore will address the Women’s Republican Club of New Trier Township’s Spring Luncheon and Annual Meeting, to be held at the Skokie Country Club, 500 Washington Ave., Glencoe, on Wed., May 30th. The reception will be at 11:30, luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

For information, call: (New phone number)
(847) 251-8955

Mr. Moore is currently the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial pages and is one of the foremost proponents of supply-side solutions in public policy. His most recent op-ed piece in the Journal is on the costly complexity of the US tax code.

Kevin White, the 2006 GOP challenger in the Illinois 5th Congressional District, will introduce Mr. Moore.

Members of the public are welcome.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Looking Around

Chalet Celebrates 90th

Wilmette's Chalet Nursery celebrates its 90th anniversary in the village with a Garden Faire Friday-Sunday.

And the Wilmette Historical Society presents its Spring Housewalk on May 20th. Details and tix here.

Fat Lady Sings

The fat lady sings, but I'm sure she'll be back. Cartoon by Glen McCoy, Belleville News-Democrat. Stories here and here on Rosie's final gross behavior, witnessed by 17 year old girls. Hat tip Illinois Review.

Previous posts: Tokyo Rosie, Snakes on the Air

Rahm's Overreach

Great post by Reverse Spin on Rahm's speech which is pure partisan overreach.

Another gentle reminder. Washington Times:
Mr. Emanuel was a close adviser to President Clinton when Mrs. Clinton told reporters that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was the product of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband.
"This vast right-wing conspiracy ... has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president," Mrs. Clinton said in a January 1998 appearance on NBC's "Today" show.
No wonder he's been hiding under his desk (in between making silly speeches), not knowing who to endorse. Between Whitewater Hillary and Obama for Sale he has a tough choice.

Previous posts mentioning good ol Rahm: Stroger's PR, U of I Stiffs Vets, Durbin the Ditz, Vulture Politics

Part of the Solution

Excellent Tribune editorial. Read it all, but this excerpt is key:
Document fraud is not a victimless crime. Prosecutors say the Little Village enterprise produced 50 to 100 fake documents a day, including green cards, Social Security cards and driver's licenses. They also say the ring's leader ordered the murder of a rival and was plotting the deaths of others. Agents had a right and a responsibility to go after the suspects -- in broad daylight, in front of children and on the eve of a week of political rallies. Those who suggest otherwise aren't helping their case.
We need a solution on immigration, and this raid was part of it.

Previous posts: Inspiring Respect, Chicago Center of ID Theft, Wrestling the Issue

UPDATE: Sun Times:
Julio Leija-Sanchez was the CEO of a thriving $3 million-a-year business and, like any businessman, needed to eliminate the competition.

So he picked up the phone and ordered them killed, the feds alleged Wednesday.

"Burn the f------ son of a b----, man," Leija-Sanchez allegedly said in a conversation with his reputed hit man in Mexico that the feds secretly recorded.

Leija-Sanchez, 31, of Oak Lawn, was one of 12 people arrested Tuesday as part of a federal investigation into a highly sophisticated business that provided fake IDs to up to 15,000 people a year in Chicago. Ten others were charged but are fugitives.

(A side note---"like any businessman" "eliminate" the competition? Most businesses just want a level playing field to compete fairly. Talk about anti-business bias.) Perhaps those guns were needed by the feds to prevent a shooting tragedy from a cornered criminal.

That's poetry

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree
Two lines. They were written by poet Joyce Kilmer in 1913 and I memorized the poem as a class assignment by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Penzkover. Fortunately most of the class was ahead of me by the time it was my turn to recite. But who knows if I would have remembered more than that first line over 40 years later if I hadn't had to memorize it, just have read it.

In 1913 Wilmette had grown from prairie, farmland, or swamp. There were a few trees to go with the few homes.

This week the village passed an ordinance mandating a tree canopy of 35%. It runs 8 pages. What's Wilmette's current tree canopy, painstakingly quantified by UIC students? Almost 50%, the laissez faire level, up from zero when Wilmette was founded.

The truth is, homeowners like trees.

What's the greatest threat to Wilmette trees? Dutch Elm and now Emerald Ash Borer disease. And the Village of Wilmette.

So this ordinance is purely symbolic. But if the village insists on passing symbolic ordinances, please, brevity is preferred. Especially if this ordinance is to serve as a model for other communities.

Rather than 8 pages of bureaucratese, (if memory serves), Trustee Swanson said it nicely at the board meeting on Tuesday...
Plant a tree in the front yard.

Plant a tree in the back yard.
Two sentences. That's poetry for you.

Related post: Prickly Public Policy

UPDATE: Ok, Ok, for the record, the village does plant lots of trees in the parkways, which accounts for a good percentage of the canopy cover, they do have a village forester, and Wilmette is a Tree City USA. I'm still a grouch, though. 8 pages. And I'm still mad about the trees at the library and Mallinckrodt being cut down in such a sneaky way.

Overreaction or Not?

We can't yet assess whether Cary-Grove High School's actions are justified or not in arresting a senior honor student for writing a "disturbing" essay, but it is on the face of it disturbing that the first response is to call the police and charge him with disorderly conduct. Sun Times here, Trib here.

Overreaction or not? Some of the signs of Cho's problems that took him out of the ordinary adolescent angst was that he rarely spoke, didn't meet anyone's eyes, and took photos of girls under their desks. Yes, and he wrote very violent essays.

Maybe the high school had to get the police involved in order to ensure that this student, who is an adult at 18, would talk to a psychologist, but it seems there are a few steps missing here, including talking to the parents. If this is the first time this student has raised any warning flags, this action by the school seems excessive. And after the Virginia Tech shooting it is natural for this to be on the minds of students, and for them to write about it in a creative essay.

We have the nexus of individual privacy rights, the school's responsibility to try to ensure the safety of all its students, and then there's the issue of a student's future---passing the baton from high school to college.

We'll be debating all of this for some time, but it's important that we do, it's overdue.

Related post: Sad Thoughts

UPDATE: Essay by Professor Thomas Sowell, RCP "Today's Shootings and 60's Collective Guilt"

UPDATE: Latest WaPo on Cho:
Flaherty said investigators have been unable to establish a motive for the shootings. "We haven't been able to determine what precipitated the event," he said. "We talk about possible motives and theories, but we don't have any evidence to support anything." Cho left a note in his dorm room and sent material to NBC railing against the rich and privileged and comparing himself to the downtrodden, but officials said the material does not explain his actions.
UPDATE: Safe School Initiative, May 2002, Secret Service and DOE

UDPATE: Daniel Henninger, WSJ:
Among the reasons widely adduced for not doing something about Cho's violent proclivities are HIPAA and FERPA, the confidentiality laws for health records and college students' records. Well, there's no FERPA for high schools. There is merely the weird cultural refusal to turn in bad actors to adult authority. In one school attack, so many students knew it was coming that 24 were waiting on a mezzanine to watch, one with a camera. The enemy is us.
And Henninger brings up the issue of the threat of lawsuits hampering common sense, for which lawmakers hold some responsibility.

UPDATE: Local schools review their crisis plans.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stone, the Bigot

So here it is, stark anti-Catholic bigotry from Professor Geoffrey R. Stone at the University of Chicago Law School (an earlier post on Stone here.) on the Supreme Court's partial birth abortion decision. And he has been noted routinely making anti-Catholic remarks in his class.

Via RedState. Fellow U of C law professor Rick Garnett. Jan Crawford Greenburg. Patterico:
Such serious accusations should be backed by solid evidence. For example, if someone were to accuse Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of making decisions about interest rates because he is a Jew, I would hope that person would be dismissed as a crank and a bigot, unless he had smoking-gun type evidence to back such a wild allegation. Accusations directed at Catholics should be no different.

Such accusations are especially serious when levelled at judges, who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. Prof. Stone is accusing the Justices of violating their oath.

So what does Prof. Stone offer as his evidence of this grave accusation? Virtually nothing.

Related posts: The Death Penalty, Just another lifestyle choice, The Other Global War

The Media as Weapon

Amazing. But finally behavior by the MSM so outrageous and despicable that even academia takes notice. LGF:

A close examination of the media’s role during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon comes now from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, in an analysis of the war published in a paper whose subtitle should give pause to journalists covering international conflict: “The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media as a Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict.” Bernard Kalb [note: actually, it’s Marvin Kalb. —ed.], of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, methodically traces the transformation of the media “from objective observer to fiery advocate.” Kalb painstakingly details how Hezbollah exercised absolute control over how journalists portrayed its side of the conflict, while Israel became “victimized by its own openness.”

The lessons from the Harvard paper go well beyond historic analysis. Kalb’s thoroughly and persuasively documented case points to the challenges to journalists in future “asymmetrical” conflicts in which a radical militia provides access only to journalists agreeing to the strictest of rules.

Remember Fauxtography? How the media assaulted civilized norms and earned our contempt by comparing our military to terrorists and showing video of their deaths?

Related posts: Blackfive Interview, The Terrorist Media, Do You Want America to Win CNN?, Assisting in theTriumph of Evil

Olympics Chicago-Style

In case you missed Dan Proft's take on the Chicago Olympics, check it out.

Nice kicker at the end.

The Trouble With Harry

From bad to worse, the Democrats shift their position on the war once again. And after declaring the war is already lost, Dem Senate majority leader Shifty Harry Reid reaches a new low, referring to a Vice President as an attack dog and insinuating that General Petraeus is not to be believed. (hat tip Reverse Spin)

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue to skip briefings on Iraq, showing their contempt for our military and apparently seeking to insulate themselves from any responsibility for the course of the war.

Can Shifty Harry and the Dems get away with it? The WSJ now calls it Harry's War:
More significantly, most Sunni tribal sheikhs are now turning against al Qaeda and cooperating with coalition and Iraqi forces. What has turned these sheikhs isn't some grand "political solution," which Mr. Reid claims is essential for Iraq's salvation. They've turned because they have tired of being fodder for al Qaeda's strategy of fomenting a civil war with a goal of creating a Taliban regime in Baghdad, or at least in Anbar province. The sheikhs realize that they will probably lose such a civil war now that the Shiites are as well-armed as the insurgents and prepared to be just as ruthless. Their best chance for survival now lies with a democratic government in Baghdad. The political solution becomes easier the stronger Mr. Maliki and Iraqi government forces are, and strengthening both is a major goal of the surge.

By contrast, Mr. Reid's strategy of withdrawal will only serve to enlarge the security vacuum in which Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents have thrived.
So Shifty Harry and the Dems may crassly boast about winning seats and the presidency by losing the war, but they may be making trouble for themselves by reminding Americans why Democrats can't be trusted on national security. The Surge hasn't even reached its full strength and already the Dems are embracing defeat. The Dems pay lip service to wanting to fight Al Qaeda, they just don't want to admit that we are fighting them in Iraq. And Americans won't thank the Democrats when we are forced by circumstances to go back into the Middle East, if we withdraw too precipitously. As the Journal says "Countries do not usually win wars by losing their biggest battles."

The trouble with Harry is not only has he made common cause with our enemies in rooting for us to lose the battle, he and the Dems have no idea that we're fighting a war.

Previous post: Heroes and Fools

UPDATE: Reaction to Giuliani from Dems. The Politico:
"Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics," said Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) "America's mayor should know that when it comes to 9/11 and fighting terrorists, America is united."
America may mostly be, but more to the point, the Democrat leadership is openly surrendering to the terrorists.
"There are people right now in the world, not just wishing us harm but actively planning and plotting to cause us harm," said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton."If the last six years of the Bush Administration have taught us anything, it's that political rhetoric won't do anything to quell those threats.
Uh, Hillary, actually that was the Clinton administration---making the world safe for Osama under Bill's charm offensive.

UPDATE: Too lame a response to Giuliani even for the Lefties. Kevin Drum, Washington Monthly, via RCP:
So I was curious: how would the Dem candidates respond? With the usual whining? Or with something smart? Greg Sargent has today's responses from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over at his site and the verdict is in: more whining. Obama: "Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low blah blah blah." Clinton: "One of the great tragedies of this Administration is that the President failed to keep this country unified after 9/11 yada yada yada."Unbelievable. Neither one of them took the chance to do what Rudy did: explain in a few short sentences why the country would be safer with a Democrat in the Oval Office.

Hirsi Ali Targeted

LGF on Sunday:

When ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali appeared at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Muslim groups tried to have her speech shut down. And they made it clear that if they had the power, and US law were written according to shari’a, Hirsi Ali would not simply be prohibited from speaking.

According to the president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, Imam Fouad ElBayly, she’d be dead.

And in a perfect example of the bizarre disconnect between reality and the shiny happy multicultural world of the media, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calls this a “">debate on religious freedom.”

This isn’t in Afghanistan. It’s in Pittsburgh.

A Jihad Watch reader called the imam to confirm, who restated that the death sentence was the call of God, so he apparently has no choice about it.

Hirsi Ali concurs that he is following the Koran. Audio at HotAir.

Related posts: The Sublime Quran, A Hijab with Your Name on it.

UPDATE: Asma Khalid cites one cleric in the belief that true Muslim orthodoxy is peaceful:
The sheikh continued, challenging Mr. bin Laden's violent interpretation of jihad, citing Koranic verses and prophetic narrations. He referred to jihad as any "good action" and recounted a recent conversation with a non-Muslim lawyer who asked if electing a respectable official would be considered jihad. The sheikh answered "yes" because voting for someone who supports the truth and upholds justice is a good action.

The sheikh, not bin Laden, is a depiction of true Islamic orthodoxy. The sheikh, not bin Laden, is the man trained in Islamic jurisprudence. The sheikh, not bin Laden, is the authentic religious scholar. But to call him a moderate Muslim would be a misnomer.

But as far as I know, this kind of thinking does not hold sway at influential Islamic Centers of learning in Saudi Arabia, nor even in Egypt, at Al-Azhar. Whose orthodoxy prevails?

Obama on the Spot Again

Carol Marin, Sun Times columnist and no conservative, spotlight's Obama's behavior as the Sun Times sought to interview him for their story, which ran yesterday and the day before. (Posts here and here):
Though Obama says he, himself, did a mere five hours of work, the 12-person law firm where Obama was a junior partner did significant legal work for Rezko's company which, by 2002, was being sued by the city, state and a bunch of banks for defaulting on loans and doing a downright awful job of providing decent housing. Taxpayers and lenders have lost up to $100 million while Rezko's firm made about $7 million.

There is no suggestion that Obama or his firm did anything illegal. But here's a guy who, according to a recent Tribune profile of his wife, Michelle, was so scrupulous about the details of life that he actually went with her on a job interview just to make sure her potential employer was up to snuff. Too bad he didn't give Rezko the same treatment.

Instead, Obama and his minions this week gave us the treatment for having the audacity to inquire.

More than five weeks after receiving Novak's questions, the Obama people at last sent a partial written response. It arrived exactly five hours before the Sun-Times went to press.
Then she describes his going the extra mile to avoid an interview.

Tribune has news on Obama's personal "empathy deficit". As Obama closes in on Hillary in the polls, the scrutiny only intensifies.

Previous post: Travels With Barry

UPDATE: RCP Blog with more.

Inspiring Respect

The feds locked down a strip mall in Little Village. Sun Times front page story. The operation lasted less than an hour and a few were arrested on suspicion of identity theft. Remember the recent news of Chicago being a hub for that crime? Most residents probably went about their business, but some got busy, maybe called a few reporters, ready with a few over the top sound bites:
"Soldiers bombarded our neighborhood," said Baltazar Enriquez, 30, a lifelong Little Village resident. "It looked like they were marching into Iraq."

The operation lasted less than an hour, but the commotion brought residents into the streets and ignited a whirlwind of phone calls and text messages to mobilize community organizations and immigration law reform activists to protest.
We're supposed to feel outrage after this orchestrated event. But identity theft is not a victimless crime, and it can lead to other criminal activity. A more reasonable response would inspire more respect.

UPDATE: Trib story here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vote Fraud in Moore Race?

Charges of vote fraud in the 49th ward by citizens and Joe Moore's opponent Don Gordon, who was defeated by 247 votes out of a total of 7, 791 votes cast.

In one precinct more votes were cast than there were voter applications and there are charges that voters who voted early voted again on election day, among other allegations. Details at Rogers Park Bench.

Related post: Moore Imports Muscle

Travels with Barry

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois made a foreign policy speech here yesterday.

Obama, he who talks softly and carries a little stick accuses Bush of "tough talk" and bemoans our bad reputation among terrorists.

OBL and the Islamofascists didn't attack our reputation, they directly attacked our country, our largest city, our center of commerce and killed 3,000 innocent people. What was America's reputation during the Crusades? Please.

Oh, but Obama majored in international relations.

From that he jumps to aspiring to the mantle of "leader of the free world". It's Travels With Charley, uh Barry, you might say a bit picaresque. Instead of traveling with a French poodle, Barack of the little stick travels with his fellow travelers of the Left, never coming to grips with the fact that there are evil men in this world who wish us harm, always looking for a better war. Expanding and expounding upon what constitutes our national security so no one ever can expect substantive measures to ensure it, but will be dazzled by soaring rhetoric:
Whether it's global terrorism or pandemic disease, dramatic climate change or the proliferation of weapons of mass annihilation, the threats we face at the dawn of the 21st century can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries.
Only I, the great Barack, can rally the world "to a new era of global cooperation". I am pleased Sen. Obama at least pays lip service to not retreating from the world and backs a larger US military to relieve our overstretched forces. But his solutions are pedestrian and myopic. He still puts faith in the UN and the World Bank, which are bureaucratic and corrupt, resist reform and empower dictators. He thinks developing countries should starve themselves and limit themselves to "low-carbon energy" to salve the conscience of his Lear Jet eco-liberal friends. While I agree we have a "global education deficit", given his indifference to the quality of American education I can't say I have much confidence there. Probably he would just give more money to PBS to take their message overseas, with help from CNN, and make things worse.

His vision on nukes is "aggressive diplomacy" which sounds like he wants us to negotiate with ourselves and unilaterally surrender to North Korea and Iran, through some phony, legalistic fig leaf of non-proliferation. He wants to "stand with our friends" in the Middle East by forcing them to rely on an "over the horizon force" he somehow envisions somewhere. Sounds like a dollar short and a day late, with dead bodies of slaughtered innocents we would cynically leave to their fate littering the ground always just short of that horizon.

Sen. Obama further says:
This will require a new spirit - not of bluster and bombast, but of quiet confidence and sober intelligence, a spirit of care and renewed competence.
You know, the UN and the "world" loved Bill Clinton, but for all his charm he left the world safe for Osama. As one wise observer noted, nobody ever charmed anyone out of a nuclear weapon. And most of the cooperators of the world melt away quickly when some real effort is involved. I suggest Obama go back to school and take notes from Condi. Or how about withdraw from the race and write up Travels with Barry.

Previous post: Obama and the Big Scam

UPDATE: WLS' Don Wade, and commentator Dan Proft on our Senator's foreign policy souffle. Link here.

Obama and the Big Scam

The way the deals were structured was an invitation to corruption. Like strip mining and walking away. Rezko and his partner stripped away their profits up front and off the top in all these so-called affordable housing deals, then abandoned the properties and tenants, leaving taxpayers on the hook. Sun Times:
If one of these low-income housing deals failed, lenders and investors would lose money -- but not Rezmar or its owners.

Rezko and Mahru weren't responsible for any government or bank loans. And they would never have to repay the $50 million in federal tax credits they got to rehab the buildings.

But they were guaranteed to make money. Rezmar put just $100 into each project and got a 1 percent stake as the general partner in charge of everything. Rezmar got to hire the architect and contractor, as well as the company that would manage the buildings, screen tenants and make repairs. The management company Rezmar hired? Chicago Property Management, also owned by Rezko and Mahru.

Rezmar made its money on upfront development fees. And Rezmar got paid first -- $6.9 million in all from its deals.

The development fees ultimately came from taxpayers.
For years, city and state officials maintained the polite fiction that these deals were working, while raking in Rezko's campaign contributions for themselves. Along with Governor Blagojevich, Mayor Daley, and former Cook County Board President John Stroger, (oh, and let's not forget Lisa, now Illinois' top law enforcement official, and her dad), Barack Obama was one of the most prominent beneficiaries, and tapped Rezko to head his Senate election effort. As so many Democrats do after mucking it all up---remember how got its start--- these con men moved on to greener pastures:
As Rezko and Mahru left many black neighborhoods with deteriorating apartment buildings, they moved on to something new -- building upscale condos and townhomes in booming Chicago neighborhoods, including the South Loop.

Mahru blamed Rezmar's problems on their low-income tenants -- tenants he and Rezko were responsible for screening.

"We lost huge amounts of money operating those buildings," Mahru said. "There's no money in affordable housing. The tenants don't pay their rent. You can't evict them. And when you finally evict them, they owe more than a year's rent, and the apartment is a mess. There's no money to clean it up or fix it up. That happened over and over again.''

Ah yes, porking out at the government trough leaving things worse than they started and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars that could have been spent more wisely. And they are poised to push this stuff in the suburbs.

So next time you hear from Illinois' Dem leaders and some of those profitable non-profits (Note: Robin Coffey of Harris Bank, Rezko's lender, is on the Executive Committee of the BPI Board. Obviously Harris didn't do so hot.) and their politically savvy advocates in local and state government--- State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, State Rep. Julie Hamos, (Hamos also a big beneficiary of campaign cash from those connected to these "non-profits"), Rezko's protege and former head of IHDA Kelly King Dibble--- remember this BIG SCAM.

PS: And remember the holier-than-thou-he-who-wants-to-be-leader-of-the-free-world Barack Obama's response to this story:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said Monday he accepted campaign contributions from Antoin "Tony'' Rezko without knowing that Rezko was a slumlord with problem buildings in the state Senate district Obama represented at the time.

"Should I have known these buildings were in a state of disrepair? My answer would be that it wasn't brought to my attention,'' Obama, who's seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said at a South Side campaign stop.

Call him Lame-O Obama.

Previous post: Obama for Sale

UPDATE: Related Sun Times editorial on the dubious merits of TIFS.

True Grit

Miss America 1944, Venus Ramey, now 82, is a true Second Amendment Sister. Story at Powerline. (they don't make 'em like they used to.)

True Blue, True Grit.

Related post: The Right of Self-Defense

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sad Thoughts

Another legacy of the '70's. Who can forget the standard storyline of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In an op-ed piece "Why Cho Was Not Committed", Jonathan Kellerman, clinical professor of pediatrics and psychology at USC, voices a concern many of us have had for years. WSJ:
The basic premise of Community Psych--that severely mentally ill people could be depended on to show up for treatment voluntarily--never made sense to me. The core of the most common and debilitating psychosis, schizophrenia, is degradation of thought and reason. So the idea that people with fractured minds could and would make rational, often complex decisions about self-care seemed preposterous.

One day, I voiced that opinion in class, questioning if any mechanisms were being set in place to prevent a flood of schizophrenics from ending up on the streets, homeless, helpless, victims of crime and, in some cases, victimizers. The Community Psych professor--one of the liberationists--responded with a patronizing smile and a folksy account of the success of a program in rural Belgium or some such place, where humble working folk created a therapeutic milieu by volunteering to house psychotics in their humble homes and everything ended up peachy.
It is difficult to comment on the campus massacre with memory so raw, but this is important. Maybe others can be helped before it's too late. And maybe we will see fewer homeless people suffering and dying on the streets, refusing help.

And here's a postscript to think about, a quote from Dr. Sally Satel, in Why I Turned Right:
"My Hill experience gave me a startling insight: Liberals and conservatives seemed to have mirror-image approaches to paternalism. Liberals made intrusive laws for the competent while conservatives preferred to rely on individuals to make their own decisions. Conversely, conservatives preferred intrusive laws for the incompetent to whom liberals applied a hands-off policy. Liberals were comfortable with public health paternalism: intrusive nonsmoking laws, taxes on unhealthy products, strict risk-averse EPA and FDA regulations. . . .Yet, when a person was incoherent, defecating in the streets, or freezing a limb off in the park, then -- and only then -- did the principles of autonomy apply."

Tuneless, Clueless Wonders

I forgot to watch the White House correspondents' dinner this year, though I understand it was no great loss. Sanjaya made an appearance as the guest of People Magazine. For some comic relief, meet the French Sanjaya. Scroll down to watch the clip if you really appreciate tuneless singing with style.

Do you think he's related to Dominique?

(Get a grip Dominique)

Win in Wilmette

Common sense won in Wilmette last week, with two challengers gaining seats on the village board, upsetting one leftie incumbent in the process. Karen Spillers won almost every vote cast, and Mike Basil scored a solid victory in a low turnout election. Wilmette Life:
Three trustee seats were won by Karen Spillers, the leader with 2,300 votes; incumbent Mari D. Terman with 1,951; and Mike Basil with 1,579, according to unofficial but final returns. Joanne Aggens lost her seat of two years, polling 1,260, and Gale Teschendorf, whose campaign never got off the ground, brought up the rear with 461 votes, returns showed.

Basil said he targeted Aggens, wanting "to provide a contrast between Joanne's ideas and my ideas" that showed how he backed development unfettered by regulations for "green buildings" and affordable housing units.

"It seems to me to be a signal that we really have to take a more focused approach on business development and not get our Village Board distracted with some of the more peripheral issues that aren't pressing needs in town," he said of the election results.

Spillers, who lost a trustee bid by 78 votes in 2005, then took a position with a Wilmette business advisory group, said, "I think it sends a message the people want the board to focus on basic services as opposed to rules and regulations."

My backyard BBQ is safe for now. Fired it up yesterday on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Previous post: Back to Basics for Wilmette

Moore Imports Muscle

Tom Mannis over at Rogers Park Bench has been keeping an eye on Alderman "Eat Crow Joe" Moore and his friends, including my congressperson Jan "Tax Cheat" Schakowsky, assorted SEIU-er rats:
Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the sponsor of the big-box wage ordinance, faced a difficult election. For the runoff alone, Moore received $199,324 -- nearly two-thirds of his contributions -- from organized labor groups.
... and some phony Irishman from the beltway. Check out this and this.

Big labor and the national Dems muscling in on Chicago in a big way. Imports masking Moore's loss of local support?

Related posts: Say it ain't so, Joe!, Checks and Balances for Seals

UPDATE: And in case you missed this, Joe Moore's loans to a criminal.

UPDATE: More background here at Marathon Pundit

UPDATE: Gordon challenging Moore. Details at Rogers Park Bench.

Obama for Sale

Blockbuster expose by the Sun Times on Obama's relationship with indicted political fundraiser and "affordable" housing czar Tony Rezko. Even as buildings developed earlier by Rezko were falling apart, Obama as a member of his law firm did legal work for the last 15 out of 30 buildings Rezko redeveloped with taxpayer subsidies. And then this:
For more than five weeks during the brutal winter of 1997, tenants shivered without heat in a government-subsidized apartment building on Chicago's South Side.

It was just four years after the landlords -- Antoin "Tony'' Rezko and his partner Daniel Mahru -- had rehabbed the 31-unit building in Englewood with a loan from Chicago taxpayers.

Rezko and Mahru couldn't find money to get the heat back on.

But their company, Rezmar Corp., did come up with $1,000 to give to the political campaign fund of Barack Obama, the newly elected state senator whose district included the unheated building.

In response to the Sun Times, his old law firm says Obama worked on these deals for only 5 hours in 9 years. Obama's old boss later became a partner with Rezko. And Obama grew closer to Rezko as well:

Rezko was among the people Obama appointed to serve on his U.S. Senate campaign finance committee, the Sun-Times reported in 2003. The committee raised more than $14 million, according to Federal Election Commission records, helping send Obama to Washington in 2004.
Then of course there's the small matter of the minor mansion Rezko helped Barack buy.

The Senator was for sale early on.

Meanwhile Rezko is confined to his home in Wilmette until his trial slated for Feb. 2008, presumably after the Illinois presidential primary.

Related posts: Slick Barack, Obama's Audacity, Follow the Money

UPDATE: Top recipients of Rezko's campaign cash.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Death Penalty

The Sun Times editorial finds the Supreme Court decision upholding a ban on partial birth abortions "unsettling", and points out it allows equally gruesome procedures which are currently a "woman's right to choose". Herself uber alles.

Death by dismemberment.

Some of the same liberals who are against the death penalty for convicted murderers see nothing wrong with chopping up an innocent child in the womb. Trib column here.

Do women have some special claim to morality? Maybe mothers do. But liberals and feminists laud women who snuff out the life of their own child in pursuit of their own pleasure and convenience.

And that is what the rest of us find so hard to forgive--the glib, self-serving lies about what an abortion is--a death penalty given to innocents.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bright Moment

New Trier Township Volunteers

Township Recruitment and Recognition Event

Celebrate volunteers, stop by to learn about opportunities to participate.
On April 27 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Song O' Sixpence in Winnetka New Trier Township will be recognizing existing volunteers and inviting all residents to learn more about the advisory committees including: Committee of Youth, Committee on Mental Health, Committee on Health & Human Services, and the Committee on Disabilities. These include initiatives to help seniors aging in place in our neighborhoods. Make your reservation by calling 847-446-8202 or on-line via email.

Township committees involve a once a month evening meeting of about an hour plus independent work on any project a volunteer decides to add on. Volunteers may also work closely with a number of other non-profits that serve the township.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hallelujah Chorus Line

Another great moment in musical history captured on tape:) (Sent to our chorus by our director)Don't think we could ever compete with this.

Stabilizing the PLANET

So not only do the Democrats trivialize real threats of disease while trumpeting bad habits as epidemics, now we are to ignore real threats to national security while redefining global warming, a dubious scientific proposition, as a matter of national security. NY Times:

“Just look at Somalia in the early 1990s,” Mr. Schwartz said. “You had disruption driven by drought, leading to the collapse of a society, humanitarian relief efforts, and then disastrous U.S. military intervention. That event is prototypical of the future.”

“Picture that in Central America or the Caribbean, which are just as likely,” he said. “This is not distant, this is now. And we need to be preparing.”

Lefties think the US is on a quixotic mission to bring democracy to an unstable world, but now they want us to control the weather:

The effects of global warming, the study said, could lead to large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water. All could lead to direct involvement by the United States military.

The report recommends that climate change be integrated into the nation’s security strategies and says the United States “should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.”

We are to have global climate cops, presumably wearing glowing green helmets.

Presumably more Homeland Security money is to be squandered not just on fattening Dem- allied union pockets in our cities, union mobsters at our ports, and funding Islamo-fascist anti-American agit-prop, now if the Democrats get their way we are going to be spending billions on global warming with little to show for it.

Maybe we could redefine Al Qaeda into a greenhouse gas and we might get somewhere. Unfortunately the kind of gas AQ is interested in has immediate deadly effects. Maybe the Supreme Court can just declare Al Qaeda a pollutant. That'll take care of the problem for sure.

(Hey, if the Democrats can take this wide-ranging GLOBAL, no make that PLANETARY cause and effect approach to encompass every issue, why can't I? Hmm?)

P.S. Oh no! What if someone suggests there is a global warming problem in Sudan, what to do?

Heroes and Fools

Remote pontificating by Steve Chapman, Tribune, who calls former Vietnam POW and Sen. John McCain a fool. (Previous post on Sen. McCain's speech on Iraq here.):
McCain couldn't really offer hope for success. So he spent most of his speech warning of the alleged dangers of failure--such as giving Al Qaeda a safe haven like it had in Afghanistan and unleashing a Rwanda-like genocide. In fact, neither outcome is remotely plausible.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban and Al Qaeda had crucial help from a powerful neighbor, Pakistan. But Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are sworn enemies of Al Qaeda. So is Iraq's own Shiite majority. The mass slaughter in Rwanda required helpless victims--and the warring groups in Iraq, as you may have noticed, have the weapons to defend themselves.
What are you talking about?! Saudi Arabia bankrolled Al Qaeda, if not directly, then through its sponsorship of Wahhabist imams--recruiters for jihad--the wink was to conduct their activities out of Saudi. Recall most of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi. Iran is supposedly a sworn enemy of Al Qaeda, but according to the bipartisan 9/11 commission they have cooperated with AQ, they have given refuge to AQ of Iraq, most likely to bin Laden's son along with other AQ members, and they themselves are a terror state training and arming Shiite fighters in Iraq, and fund Hezbollah and Hamas. I notice Mr. Chapman didn't mention Syria, another Iraq neighbor, where any number of thugs and assassins have taken refuge, menacing Iraq, Lebanon and Israel.

Oh, and apparently it is inconsequential that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. We are to believe there will be no fallout from leaving Iran unchecked to concentrate on that if we leave. Fallout indeed. Does Mr. Chapman think there will be no consequences from a Shiite bomb? We will see a nuclear arms race that will pale in comparison to anything that has gone before, and it may not be confined to the Middle East, but spread to Asia. And as fellow Tribune op-ed contributor Victor Davis Hanson points out Pakistan is one bullet away from another Islamic theocracy. They already have a nuke. As does India, (taking notice of the story) with whom they currently form a fragile truce, US allies both--for now.

And AQ is using crude chemical weapons based on garden variety chlorine to terrorize civilians. Of course, there was no WMD in Iraq, Saddam had just imported enough chlorine to sanitize and carpet the country in swimming pools several times over. And let's forget that he used chemical weapons on his neighbors, and his own people, an act of evil that the world has not seen since the Holocaust of WWII or the mustard gas of WWI.

I may not be any more certain of anything than Mr. Chapman, or Sen. McCain, but I would hesitate to make such pronouncements that any dangers of failure are remote.

After all, who really imagined Sept. 11th? Actually, it was someone like Sen. McCain. It was John O'Neill. But no one took him seriously until it was too late. I call him a hero, not a fool. I reserve that judgement for others.

UPDATE: Al Qaeda loyalists claim credit for the attack on the Iraqi Parliament (which is within the perimeter of the Green Zone, but security for the building is manned by Iraqis), perhaps precipitating a different reaction than they had hoped for. LA Times:

"We must forget the pain and reunify," Ibrahim said. "We have nothing except this unified Iraq. We must forget our differences."

The unprecedented Friday meeting was a rare display of camaraderie among Iraq's politicians, who since taking office after national elections in December 2005 have proved reluctant to bridge religious and ethnic divides. These differences have stalled legislation considered essential to Iraq's social and economic progress.

But Thursday's bombing differed from previous violence against politicians, which has targeted specific lawmakers or parties. This attack, committed by a suicide bomber in a cafeteria used by all lawmakers, was aimed at the post-Hussein Iraqi government as a whole.

In its Internet statement claiming responsibility, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq said one of its "knights" had infiltrated the "core of the cursed Green Zone … headquarters of the infidel parliament rats."
They are clearly targeting the fledgling democrats in parliament.

Meanwhile, supposed "Democrats" at home, who claim Iraq is in a civil war, so we can't get involved, but they really, really are serious about wanting to fight Al Qaeda, when faced with an Al Qaeda attack in Iraq want to cut and run anyway. It's the Democrats' first impulse in matters of national security. Because their first priority is always playing politics, not the best interests of our country. On FoxNews Sunday this morning Bill Kristol pointed out Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid's remarks. Unbelievably crass and unprecedented:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he plans to continue an aggressive push for an early withdrawal from Iraq and does not particularly care that Republicans will try to paint that position as a lack of support for U.S. forces.

Why? Because “We are going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war,” the Nevada Democrat predicted at a news conference.

Sitting next to him was the man charged with making that happen: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer of New York.

“The war in Iraq is a lead weight attached to their ankle,” Schumer warned, predicting that congressional Democrats will pick up additional Republican votes for Democratic initiatives as the 2008 elections approach.

“We will break them, because they are looking extinction in the eye,” Schumer declared, making no attempt to hide his glee.

The Democrats---looking out for Number One.

Related posts: Remember Them, Troops' Message, Democrats Duck and Weave, Don't Tie Troops Hands, Moms of Fury