Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mayday! Mayday! Get Ready for Monday

Remember the Communists? There was nothing they liked as much as a muscle-flexing parade on May 1. Organized labor likes May Day, too. Can you seriously think of a better place than a parade to sign up the next generation of Teamsters?

So on Monday, those parades promised around the country that aim to shut down entire cities are not going to feature marching Mariachis, but rather thousands and thousands of Spanish speaking People of Anahuac awakening to the truth.

One problem: that truth might be harsh.

Here in Wilmette, you can tap the shoulder of many an older resident and ask "Where was your grandmother born?" and "Did your parents grow up speaking English?" The answers, and I've heard many of them over the years, are almost uniform. They name the country where Grandma was born, and then tell almost exactly the same story about her or their mother: "Speak English! We're Americans now." "Pledge to the flag." "Serve your country." "Act American." It was this attitude on the part of immigrants that put America in their heart, and made the melting pot work.

In America, it's hard to know someone's heritage and it mostly doesn't matter, anyway. There cerainly is no shortage of good American citizens with Hispanic backgrounds, many of whom have expressed genuine concerns over May Day plans.

But ever since I ate my hat and discovered the truth about occupied Anahuac, I have been studying this newest group of immigrants. Frankly, I'm puzzled. As a "measure of respect" they have come up with a Spanish language version of the Star Spangled Banner called "Nuestro Himno," which you can listen to by clicking here. Hey, what's wrong with the old one? But even the most moderate of their leaders are adamant: "All undocumented workers deserve legalization because of their inherent contributions to this society," says the President of the Mexican American Association, " all undocumented workers have more than paid their way to legalization and deserve it immediately."

Says Socorro Murillo of Santa Ana, California in regard to the May 1 marches, "I think it's important to show up, to show that this is a special day. It's a day that we should be remembered as Latino immigrants who took an important step to show our worth in the economy." The only problem is, that most of this worth on May 1 will go to millions of dollars of expense to citizens paying overtime for police protection and crowd control. Jim Kouri, currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, asks some tough questions.

These newest would-be citizens are different. And somehow they just don't quite get it. Their sense of entitlement to citizenship simply because they managed to reach the United States is troubling. It's going to take a lot of hard thinking to figure our way out of this mess. Considering amnesty? Before you make up your mind, please read this.

Note: Interested in the history of May Day and political protest? There is an excellent 57 page paper that will tell you everything you want to know, which you can read by clicking here. (Pdf format)

Photo Credit: Time Europe which has an excellent collection of May Day Photos. The one above is one of Italian workers marching in Pescara, Italy.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wilmette Weekend: Lawn Tips and More

Time to get off the Internet and get going, Wilmette! Spring is in full swing, and after last year's drought the lawns are looking pretty shabby.

The University of Illinois Extension has a great website specifically targeted to lawn in Northern Illinois. There you can learn to care for your lawn in eight easy-to-understand lessons, or read one of 30 fact sheets on lawn care.

Venerable lawn care specialist, Scotts, features a great weed identifier on their website, although from the look of things, we need to concentrate on dandelions. Plantea has several tips on how to eliminate dandelions organically, but using a chemical spray will probably be faster and easier. If you're going chemical, maybe just buy what you need this weekend, and wait a few days to apply it. Those yellow spots in the lawns throughout the village look mighty pretty!

If you just want to pretend you are really serious about the yard, just head over to Chalet. Of course, maybe Osco (or Jewel on Green Bay) will be getting some hanging plants on Saturday morning--they're always cheaper. And come to think of it, Treasure Island can be a good source of plants, too.

You better set the alarm though; with showers forecast for the weekend, an early start is best.

(If it's raining, you could amuse yourself downloading MP3's legally at Early MusiChicago. or just by decluttering the house.)

Photo Credit: DrBacchus who posts his photos on Flickr.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wilmette Are You Ready for This?
How About a Parking Garage Right Here?

The Wilmette Life has an article about how the developers of the old Green Bay Ford property (shown above with Village Hall in the background) are now preparing a plan to put in a parking garage there. This is the first time they have mentioned that.

Do we seriously want this? I don't. Traffic in the area is bad enough already.

Pictures of the developer's earlier plan (earlier as in seven days ago) are here. You might want to read the Backyard Conservative's earlier post about problems at the site, as well as today's comment.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stones for Children
Studying the Da Vinci Code

Maybe we complain about New Trier H.S. too much. It turns out there are schools where parents should really be concerned. In an interesting find today, I discovered a high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is teaching a course on Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code. The teacher, Jonathan Carter, at Pace Academy, has a blog which details the assignments, including a letter to parents, which read by itself, should raise concern. While this teacher admits that "the novel itself does touch on material that requires a mature and open mind," there is also a posting about the non-availability of bathroom breaks from class, making the casual observer question whether these teens are really ready for anything "mature."

To his credit, Mr. Carter has a fairly good set of assignments, including one at the Louvre website, but is it a good use of a students time to research the answers to questions such as "Did Leonardo marry? What was his romantic life like?"

Pace Academy is a charter school, which is a creation of the "No Child Left Behind Act." Most children in charter schools desperately need basics: basic reading, basic writing, basic math, basic skills. Somehow, it would seem that a more meat-and-potatoes curriculum would serve the students better at this school, most of whom are headed to junior colleges or vocational training.

Note: Looking for Da Vinci Code info? For those readers looking to brush up on the religious implications of the Da Vinci Code, you can find plenty of information at several blogs and websites. Off the Wire has a comprehensive set of resources, as does Leadership U (scroll down), and Emergesque. Interested in Opus Dei? Their newly designed website is just in time for the movie, which opens May 19.

Update Note: Heard about the English judge who wrote the opinion on the Da Vinci Code plagerism case? That opinion has its own mystery with a code embedded by the use of italics in the text. ? You can read about that here and here, with commentary and notes here. If you want to read the opinion, her Majesty's Courts Services has the Pdf file here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wilmette Bulks Up: Tall and Ugly
Green Bay Road Development Revealed

I took this picture directly from the Backyard Conservative's Website; she is back to her investigative reporting and citizen action about the new development at the old Ford Dealership.

Looks like we are in for a tall and hideous treat across from the train station; let it never be said that whoever designed this building has any taste! In fact I would call whoever designed it just downright anti-social. I imagine that the people making money off this monstrous development live far away where they will never have to see it. Yuk and more yuk!

You will want to read the post about Wilmette Village Center LLC for yourself. You'll appreciate the comments made to a Mr. Pochter, who apparently represents the developers. Mr. Poctor engaged in a little name-calling, finding the Backyard Conservative "short-sighted," and told her she should see the benefits for the village.

Mr. Pochter, if you read this, I think we people who live in Wilmette are all going to be very unhappy; as far as the building goes, I think we are going to hate it.

Spring Arrives in Wilmette
Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Taking the whole family out to the ballgame used to be an idle pleasure, not too expensive, something to look forward to come Spring. In the days when there were enough ball clubs around for everyone to get some peanuts and some crackerjack without a home equity loan, the Negro League alone fielded over a hundred teams.

Could there be any question that an afternoon spent at a Cincinnati Clowns game would amuse , or that there might be a chance of several home runs at a Zulu Cannibal Giants game? The game was a little rougher in the Old Days, though. Thankfully, the New York Knickerbockers established, early on, that you must tag a player, rather than just throw the ball at him--or her.

In Chicago, baseball scores were being reported by the newspapers prior to the Civil war, with 45 amateur baseball teams competing by 1867. Baseball became so popular that in 1887 the strongest players organized into eight semipro teams known as the Chicago City League. In 1910, the first night game was played under lights at Comisky Park as the Logan Squares faced off against Rogers Park.

If you don't get out much, you can actually see up to 2,400 baseball games on the Internet for less than $80.00. Make sure you are a tech wizard, though, before you sign up, or you'll be back to the days of ballgames on the radio. When I clicked for a sample game, it came in loud and clear, but I couldn't see a thing.

Photo credit: Jaysun who posts his photos on Flicker.

Monday, April 17, 2006

George Ryan Convicted All Counts

Former Illinois Governor, George Ryan, convicted all counts!

In a brief press conference, former Governor Ryan stated: "I believe this decision today is not consistant with the type of public service I provided to the people of Illinois for 40 years."

This trial was a great public service by the jury who clearly made a sacrifice both in terms of time and money. They deserve the thanks of the public for their hard work.

Update April 20: What does the jury get from Ryan's defense team? Grief and innuendo. The Illinois Review blog weighs in with and excellent post, which you can read by clicking here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter from Wilmette
Alleluia! He is Risen!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19, 16-30

Photo credit:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Good Samaritan and Pakistan

As the Christian world contemplates the life of Jesus this week, it is well to remember that the Parable of the Good Samaritan occurred after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Today, we think of Samaritans as helpful people, but in Jesus’ day they not only weren’t very well liked, they generally despised helping any stranger who might be “unclean.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan is not only a call for us to help others, it is also a call for us to put away prejudice and narrow-minded thinking in doing so.

I have written before about the plight of Blogspot bloggers (the software and hosting service for this blog) in Pakistan. In their rush to free the eyes of citizens from the content and fallout from the cartoon controversy, the Government of Pakistan has blocked all Blogspot blogs. But that isn’t all—in the wake of terrorist bombings on Tuesday in Karachi, they also blocked access to Google news.

There is a burgeoning group of young computer users in Pakistan, and a small core of tech-savvy, well-educated citizens--also young--who seek freedom similar to what you enjoy, right this minute in front of your computer. This Holy Week, will you consider being a Samaritan by bringing these facts to light on your own blogs? Spider, the Internet magazine based in Pakistan, has a number of articles on the subject, which make for interesting reading. You can find further information at Wikipedia.

Pakistan faces a tough challenge. As Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, Pakistanis have been margainalized in the eyes of the post 9/11 world as just another possible bunch of potential terrorists. As a practical matter, Pakistanis are suffering from terrorism, too. And in a sad move, yesterday the UN announced it is closing down many relief efforts in Pakistan 186 days after the Kashmir earthquake.

The country, generally lacking strong tech skills, is being held back by the government’s method of attempting to insulate their people from what they view as blasphemy from the West as well as terror from within. Because the Internet is most popular mostly among the young, government officials are clueless about the value of the Internet and unaware of the really bad effects of low-tech, insensitive solutions to what might be some very valid government concerns.

Troubles Abroad and Gratitude Here

As you prepare to greet guests flying in for Easter, or prepare to take a journey yourself, take some perspective about the miserable waits and lines you or yours are sure to encounter at the airport over the next few days. While the inconvenience is massive, we simply forget how hard the government has been working to keep travel safe for all of us. We have been relatively free from attack. As we feel more safe, our tendency to complain mightily about the fallout from it increases. We tend to forget, or not even read about, problems elsewhere in the world. Consider the following:

Google news is currently blocked in Pakistan. This block happened after the horrific bomb blast in Karachi on April 11, 2006. This block has brought the city of Karachi to a standstill, and more people are at home. Many of them have turned to the internet for more information. One of the best sources of information on current events is Google News, and consequently the government has blocked it along with many other websites.

This is a sad day for the entire country. The stench of fear is in the air, and the government is adding to it by restricting access to information.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Aztec Uprising: Anahuac Update

The poster reads: "You Want to Kick Someone Out Kick Yourself Out THIS IS OUR LAND"

Latest from the Anahuac, formerly known as Aztecs, at the most recent (immigration rally) (peaceful uprising incident) in California. Think they are not serious? Better read this first and think again.

Investor's Business Daily has picked up on this story.

Photo credit: Buzznet

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Web Tourism: Holy week

Is there any more curious sight to American eyes than a Spanish Nazareno? While the Spanish speaking Anahuac are taking to American streets this Holy Week in search of voting rights, the European Spanish are marching for Jesus.

In cities across Spain, Holy Week is filled with religious parades, often at night, lit by torch. Because marching without shoes, or with chains in tow, are viewed as pious acts which must be anonymous, the Nazarenos hide their identities under robe and hood, wearing garb the style of which dates back hundreds of years. While they might be hiding their identities, hiding socio-economic status never seems to have caught on--velvet and satin in jewel colors are common.

Spain still has a limited presence on the Internet, and English content is very rare. Nevertheless you can see Nazarenos preparing for a torchlight parade in Vigo and other pictures by clicking here. Seville actually has a website for the processions (where the above picture appears)--just click here. There are also a number of interesting photos here, although these are more recent.

So whether you are off to Spain this week, or just viewing the sights at home, remember: just keep practicing that Spanish!

More interesting Holy Week pictures from Spain

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Wilmette Welcomes Holy Week

Happy Palm Sunday! Holy Week was welcomed in Wilmette Churches and around the world today. Over at Kenilworth Union, it was also Confirmation Sunday. Congratulations to all 48 of the Confirmands--the church was packed! For those looking for some spiritual reading, five years of sermons, including many already in Dr. Bowen's books, can be found on the KUC website.

As the Christian world turns its sights to spiritual matters for the next week, it is a comfort to know that there is no limit to excellent religious websites. Catholics can use the Internet to actually place a prayer petition at the grotto at Lourdes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Aztec Uprising: Rebuilding the Anahuac Nation

Turns out that what we thought was a protest in Los Angeles over proposed legislation is far more than that--it's the Aztecs. They're back, and they're madder than hell! Think I'm suffering from delusions from indigestion after eating my hat? See the Aztec's pictures and read their viewpoint by clicking here. (Scroll down for the pictures.) In the words made famous in December, 1941, "This is no joke."

If this hate group has its way, they will be sending all white people back to Europe, and restoring the Empire of Montezuma.

I won't argue that Spanish rule was lousy, but didn't the Europeans, formerly known as English, do their part when they defeated the Spanish Armada? After all, it was the miserable and unenlightened policies of the Aztec Empire that made conquest easy for the Spaniards in the first place.

Take a look around the website for the Los Angeles protest , and see with your own eyes the photoshopped pictures of US public officials dressed as Nazis. And don't bother checking facts at Wikipedia. The Aztec entry has been hacked up so badly you can't tell truth from fiction, completely violating the Wikipedia requirement of Neutral Point of View in the process.

You can take a look at the Mexican Government's much-discussed guide for people who will enter the United States illegally here. It's translated into English, but the Spanish version is there also.

There's a worthwhile article at Newsweek about problems with guest worker programs. After all, if we don't want to be sent back to Europe by the Mexica government, we need to do some deep thinking on immigration.

Nothing-new-under-the-sun-department: Smart thinkers, and I wasn't one of them, picked up on the movement to take over at least part of the United States over four years ago. You can read about that here.