Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jesse Jackson Owes Apology for Advocating Political Imprisonment

In a stunning blow against First Amendment freedoms, Chicago based rights-advocate, Jesse Jackson, called for making "hate speech" illegal in a Chicago Sun-Times opinion column appearing on November 28, 2006. Jackson, who has a large national following, paid lip service to freedom of speech by noting,

"Our forefathers created the First Amendment to ensure a robust public debate and to prohibit the government from making laws to squelch political speech, even speech critical of our leaders."
and then went on to say, in commenting on comedian Michael Richards highly publicized nightclub diatribe against heckling patrons,

"But obscenity has never enjoyed that protection, nor should it. Yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater does not have protection. Similarly, hate speech -- like that wielded by Richards -- has and should be illegal."
Jackson has it wrong, all wrong. The First Amendment was not designed so narrowly to merely to allow political criticism. The First Amendment allows people to speak freely, to say ill-advised things, to make fools of themselves, to comment broadly, and also to be very, very wrong--and even evil-- in what they say.

To advocate illegality for unpopular speech is to advocate political imprisonment.

All over the world, courageous citizens of many countries are working to attempt to convince their government that freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. When a high-profile leader such as Jackson speaks in approval of suppressing a fundamental freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, he shows little regard for the work that has occupied him for his entire career.

Jackson should know better. On behalf of those incarcerated throughout the world for speaking their mind, for those silenced by governments who believe free speech is an unacceptable idea, for those global bloggers, locked-out by their governments from writing freely, Wilmette demands an apology from Rev. Jackson.

Jackson's thoughtless words represent a glaring assault on basic American freedoms, and displays a lapse of judgment as erroneous as that shown by actor/comedian Richards. But there is one difference. Richards is a celebrity without any known aspirations to be a leader; Jackson is a leader of high-profile Operation Push.

Neither of these men should be incarcerated, fined, or "brought to justice;" their thoughtless remarks are worthy of Constitutional protection, misguided as they may be. Nevertheless, we are very, very disappointed in Rev. Jackson.

Thankful for Wagner Farm

With thankful thoughts occupying our time for the past few days, I've been spending some of that time thinking about gratitude. One beautiful sea of calm on the busy North Shore is nearby Wagner Farm, just a few minutes from Wilmette. Simply head West on Lake Avenue and you will find it, and the cows who live there, right on the corner of Wagner Road. Complete with cows, old tractor, red barn, and farmhouse, it's well worth a trip.

This old farm, which was one of the last in Cook County, Illinois was in peril of disappearing. Thanks to the tireless work of a number of dedicated citizens, Wagner Farm became part of the Glenview Park District. If you have a few minutes this week or this weekend, make sure you drive by. It will refresh your spirit to see this calm oasis from the past.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ah Tradition: Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Sorry to see the end of Thanksgiving; its always sad to see friends and family depart. We are sustained only by two Thanksgiving mysteries, one of which is likely solved, the other remains elusive.

Thanksgiving Mystery #1: Why is all Thanksgiving food so mushy?
Thanksgiving Answer #1: I think its because the oldest female family member usually ends up doing a lot of the cooking. She usually makes the food from her childhood, which back then then was also made by the oldest female relative. That was quite a while ago, of course, back before modern dentistry. Hence, Thanksgiving is the only fancy meal you'll ever eat in the United States which requires absolutely no teeth.

Thanksgiving Mystery #2: Who was Aunt Wilma anyway?
Thansgiving Non-Answer #2: The question actually was a story told at Thanksgiving, of a family, who every year makes Aunt Wilma's casserole, a variation of the green bean casserole, but with corn and green beans, and Cheez-its substituted for french fried onions. They love Aunt Wilma's casserole. its their favorite; but upon reflection the entire family realized that none of them ever had an Aunt Wilma! In fact, even the elderly relatives couldn't even think of anyone they ever knew who was named Wilma. The moral: You may be forgotten, but make a good casserole, and at least people will talk about you.

Ah tradition!

One final thought: The former Chief Curator of Plimoth Plantation has an excellent article. "The Truth About Thanksgiving Is that the Debunkers Are Wrong," which you should read.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving from Wilmette

To you and yours: Happy Thanksgiving!

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

Listen: Link to audio arrangement of above

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Mayflower Compact

The English have always had a liking for laws and government, so it's no surprise that before the Pilgrims set up housekeeping in Massachusetts, they first set up a government. The document they wrote is known as the Mayflower Compact, and is short and simple. Here is the entire text:

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant, and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names; Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord King James, of England, France and Ireland eighteenth and of Scotland fifty-fourth, Anno Domini 1620.


John Carver - Richard Warren - John Turner - Edmon Margeson - William Bradford - John Howland -Francis Eaton Peter Brown Edward Winslow - Stephen Hopkins -James Chilton - Richard Britteridge - William Brewster - Edward Tilly - John Crackston - George Soule - Isaac Allerton - John Tilly - John Billington - Richard Clarke -Myles Standish - Francis Cooke - Moses Fletcher - Richard Gardiner - John Alden - Thomas Rogers - John Goodman - John Allerton - Samuel Fuller - Thomas Tinker - Degory Priest - Thomas English - Christopher Martin - John Rigdale - Thomas Williams -Edward Doty - William Mullins - Edward Fuller - Gilbert Winslow - Edward Leister - William White

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back to the Borders of 1492

If you are a reader from outside the United States, I don't want to to think that all Americans are misty-eyed about the Pilgrims. Today we feature these posters with an opposing viewpoint from those people over at the Mexica Movement. In the mainsteam media I think they call that fair and balanced coverage.

The Mexica movement people want to send all European immigrants back to Europe. If they prevail, that will prove to be a pretty big logistical problem, because only a limited number of Americans of European descent have roots in just one country. And since Americans aren't just from Europe, the problem is larger than they may think. Today I am thankful for freedom of speech, but I don't think the Wampanoag had an immigration policy.

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Label: Thanksgiving2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

The First Thanksgiving Day Celebration: the Pilgrims and the Indians in Plymouth

Interested in a less Eurocentric view of Thanksgiving, or looking for a way to honor the Indians who helped the Pilgrims? Curious about just who those Indians at the first Thanksgiving were?

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, claims that its members are the descendants of the people who first met the Pilgrims in America. The tribe is still located in Massachusetts, and celebrates its proud heritage and its connection with the Mayflower immigrants. Of course they have a website, which you can access by clicking here.

For several centuries, the Mashpee Wampanoag, who also have their own town, governed itself as any indepedent Massachusetts town. When they lost Indian control of the government through the democratic process, they decided that it was time to finally be recognized as a separate Indian Nation. The preliminary decision from the Federal Government is in their favor, and that decision, which is very readable, and well worth your time, is available by clicking here. (An even more comprehensive document is here.)

If you are looking for an interesting Thanksgiving project, or a way to make a donation which honors Native Americans and their importance to the early Pilgrims, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is collecting funds to restore their Old Meeting House, which dates back to 1684.

Happily, these Mashpee Wampanoags are a technological lot, and you don’t even need to address an envelope. They will be happy to take your donation, via credit card, online, which you can do by clicking here.

Collecting donations would be a fun Sunday School project for all those good Congregationalist children who are busy honoring their Pilgrim forbearers this week. Or better yet, on Thanksgiving Day, have the kids made a collection box and hit-up all your guests. How’s that for getting even with all those free-loading relatives?

(Just a reminder that the Pilgrims knew that idle hands do the devil's work. If you have a bunch of kids coming for Thanksgiving don't forget to print out a few coloring pages to give them something to do, just click here to find a number of cute coloring projects. )

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

The Mayflower Pilgrims: from England to America via Leyden

The Pilgrims were in deep political trouble in England. They had no use for the church established by Henry VIII when he broke with Rome. Their viewpoints led to imprisonment, fines for holding their church services and failure to attend the worship services at the Established Church, and even death. Because they wished to be free of the Church of England, they were referred to as "Independents," Separatists," or "Brownists," after preacher Robert Browne. The name "Pilgrim" came many years thereafter, based on William Bradford's words: "So they left the good and pleasant city, which had been their resting place near 12 years. But they knew they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the Heavens, their dearest country . . ."

Holland was a liberal country, offering shelter to those seeking freedom of conscience, and many of American's Pilgrims first settled in the University town of Leyden, Holland.

There are a number of current pictures of the England known to the Pilgrims here if you would like to see them, and a webpage with interesting links and very good information about the Pilgrims here. If you take a few minutes to look over these websites before Thanksgiving, you'll have a much better idea about the Pilgrims come Thursday. If you by chance saw Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower on the History Channel on Sunday, you may be particularly interested.

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Are You a Mayflower Descendant?

Preparing for Thanksgiving? Don't forget that today, November 19, 2006 marks the 386th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims. Since we are now in the age of political correctness, you might not hear that fact elsewhere (unless you're watching Desperate Crossing on the History Channel.)

The old saying, "If everyone who says they are descended from Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower, it must have been a very crowded boat," isn't really true, except that the boat was crowded. While only 102 passengers made it to the New World on the Mayflower, and about half died the first winter, their families were very large. Millions of Americans are Mayflower descendants, and many Europeans, too. If you aren't one, you probably know several. Of course, most Mayflower descendants don't even know about their heritage, so it's a somewhat pointless discussion.

Richard Warren is considered to be the most prolific Pilgrim , and his descendants include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lucille Ball, the Wright Brothers, Richard Gere, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans, including this blog writer, and maybe you, too.

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants have been working for years on a project to try to identity the descendants each Mayflower passenger through the first five generations. Seeing that we are now somewhere between generation 15 or 20, my calculations show that if you go back 15 generations to the Mayflower, you have 16,382 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents. That is why so many Americans are Mayflower descendants.

Genealogy can be fun, and there are plenty of resources on the Internet. Careful, though, there are a lot of completely wrong genealogies out there. If you're interested in writing down your family tree, fill-in-the-blank pedigree charts are available for free on the Internet by clicking here. With many family members scheduled to show up over the holidays, this can be an easy way for the kids and the older generation to interact.

One of the best library resources for genealogy is the New England Historic Genealogical Society founded in 1845. Its researcher Gary Boyd is meticulous. In 2004 he showed how George Bush and and John Kerry are distant cousins in eight different ways. You can see that by clicking here. You might just open a random chart and find out you are related to both. If you are interested in immigrants who came in ships other than the Mayflower, you can search immigrant passenger lists to America (free through November 30); just click here. Cyndi's List also has links to a number of other resources to get you started.

The more you learn about genealogy the more you will realize you have millions of cousins all over the world. Good to remember at a time when so much of the world fails to get along.

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Truth About the Pilgrims - Read the Book

"Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente."

Want to know the truth about the Pilgrims? Lots of pundits will be commenting on that in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and plenty of what they say will be wrong. Why? Ignorance, mostly.

But don't take my word for it. Thanks to the generosity of the Internet. we have links to two books from which comes most of our genuine knowledge about the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony (now Massachusetts).

The first original source document, Of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford. you can read or download by clicking here.

The second original source document is Mourt's Relation which you can access two versions online: Mourt's relation #1 Mourt's Relation #2 This book was written between November 1620 and November 1621 by Pilgrim Edward Winslow with the help of Pilgrim William Bradford. Printed and sold in London in 1622 by George Morton, it was Morton who gave it the name.

If you do a little reading, I think you'll find those Pilgrims a likeable, courageous, and principled folk, but rather than telling you about them--except for the delight in finally enjoying a bit of beer at the new world--I'll let you discover for yourself these exemplary people.

If you're just seeking something shorter written in today's English, you might enjoy this article from historynet.com. Or, if you're pressed for time, here's a site with a few quick quotes.

Note: Yes, I know the picture above isn't one of William Bradford, it's Edward Winslow. There was a real shortage of painters in those days, so that one will have to do.

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at Wilmette.blogspot.com by clicking here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wacky Wilmette Park Board Questions "Mallinckrodt" Name for Park

What kind of wackiness has infected the Wilmette Park District Board members? The Wilmette Life is reporting that only three Board members are voting to keep Mallinckrodt as the name of the Park at--how shall I describe it?--Mallinckrodt. Thumbs up to Diana Cohen, Jim Brault and Richard Crowley for their pragmatic vote. Goofy Richard Marcus fretted that the name would be a conflict of separation of church and state. The entire board begged the issue, voting unanimously to seek legal advice whether this name would be a problem.

C'mon guys. Separation of church and state? Let's get real. Both Winnetka and Evanston have streets named Asbury after the founder of American Methodism. No one has ever questioned the naming of Martin Luther King Drive, and he was a minister. Wilmette has Yale Avenue, and Yale was a Puritan minister. These are names that come to mind with no reflection whatsoever.

Everyone who has lived in Wilmette for more than five minutes knows precisely where Mallinckrodt is located, making the choice a pragmatic one.

Pauline von Mallinckrodt founded the Catholic Sisters of Charity, who owned the Mallinckrodt property for many long years. This aristocratic young lady, who dedicated herself in the 1800's to such activities as day care centers for the poor and hospice care for the elderly, remains as a shining example that the priviledged and well-to-do can focus on something more useful to society than expanding the size of their houses and buying ever-larger SUV's.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"I'm Blogging Right Now, Take a Message"

Ever tell someone you couldn't talk because you're busy blogging? Didn't think so. With the move toward corporate blogs, you might hear that excuse soon enough. In the meantime, if you're a blogger, you'll love the short little video with just that excuse, which you can see by clicking here. If you can take a little comedy, you'll love the video with the "couple months antiquated" bluetooth, too.

Thanks to Michelle, from whom I cribbed the link.

Update November 28, 2006: We are not having any luck reaching Philtube.com video link, the website on which the video is hosted. Is it too much traffic? Maybe. Try this link.

Wilmette Salutes Milton Friedman

Sad news that economist Milton Friedman has passed away. About a month ago I posted a link to an old interview with him, and in his memory I am posting it again. The video is here, and the transcript is here. I will let Mr. Friedman's views on limited government speak for themself.

I found the original link on Amit's Blog, which he has updated with a tribute well worth reading. And while you're about it, you should read this; while this famous University of Chicago economist is no longer with us, his ideas still are.

"I'm Blogging Right Now, Take a Message"

Ever tell someone you couldn't talk because you're busy blogging? Didn't think so. With the move toward corporate blogs, you might hear that excuse soon enough. In the meantime, if you're a blogger, you'll love the short little video with just that excuse, which you can see by clicking here. You'll also love the video with the "couple months antiquated" bluetooth, too.

Thanks to Michelle, from whom I cribbed the link.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

World Usability Day 2006

Tuesday, November 14, is World Usability Day, something you will wish you had paid some serious attention to once the holidays begin. If your life is cluttered with gizmos that are designed to make life easier but actually make it harder, this is your day! Or. if you have been lucky enough to find things that actually do what they are intended to, and do it easily and well, it's your day, too.

The concept of this year's "Red Balloon Initiative" is to take pictures of things that work well and things that don't work well in your life and upload the pictures to Flickr. While it all sounds like a good idea, celebrating the day seems a little complicated. There's a Hall of Fame and a Hall of Shame and I think it involves voting. Did these people not get the memo? Please. Voting is so last weeek.

If the above sounds like a good idea, check it out, won't you? And if by chance youdo figure out how to make World Usability Day, well, usable, please leave a comment,

Hat tip: Dina

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice: Veteran's Day Remembers
the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month - 1918

The Armistice, which took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, marked the end of World War I, the "war to end all wars." Veteran's Day--before it became a long weekend--was known as Armistice Day. and was always observed November 11.

This Saturday, November 11, will you be standing at 11 am, facing East toward France, in memory of fallen Americans, as our parents and grandparents did? It is a tradition that should not be forgotten. World War I cost thousands of American lives, young men willing to die because they knew that the cost of freedom is never free.

Pictured above is the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, established on October 14, 1918 in an area captured by the US 32nd Division. It now contains the graves of 14,246, including 486 unknown soldiers. Panels on the Memorial Chapel walls record the names of a further 954 missing. The white marble crosses or Stars of David record the unit details of each casualty and their State. As a comparison the World War II D-Day Landings Cemetery in Normandy contains 9,386 graves.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the final offensive of World War I. It was the biggest operation and victory of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in that war. The offensive took place in the Verdun Sector, immediately north and northwest of the town of Verdun, between September 26 - November 11,1918. It was launched as part of Marshall Ferdinand Foch's Grand Offensive, comprising attacks by the AEF and French Fourth Army on Septemer 26, the British Fourth Army on September 27, the British and Belgians at Ypres on September 28. These operations led to a general advance along most of the Western Front, resulting in the German Army's final defeat and the signing of an armistice on November 11 to bring hostilities between the allies and central powers to an end.

Further information on the Cemetery

France Remembers (Choose Entrer dans le site, then Diaporama for World War I Photos)

Photo Gallery - Reims to Verdun

Help the VFW

Update: A supporter of the Royal British Legion blog has left a link to their Remembrance podcast in the comments. It is a very short and moving program which you should hear. Click here to hear the memorial.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's Mark Kirk over Dan Seals in a Victory for IL-10

I'm tired, I have the sniffles, and I've fallen asleep several times over the past few days at both the computer and while sitting up watching TV, all as a result of on-the-fly last minute political blogging. Was it worth it? You bet.

Smelling trouble, in the last two weeks before the election Republican voters all over Illinois Tenth Congressional District decided enough was enough and started doing a little work for Congressman Mark Kirk. Contrast this effort with a year long campaign by Democrats for Dan Seals, and you get a mere glimpse of what Kirk's base would do if the Democrats again target the District with a candidate who not only doesn't have a clue what the district is about but also doesn't live here.

Cook County Clerk, David Orr, reports on his website that Mark Kirk beat Dan Seals with over a ten point spread. Despite Democrat emphasis on "count every vote," David Orr apparently got tired of counting with about 92% of the ballot counted, or maybe just stopped posting the results online. No explanation.

Will Dan Seals, the man without a past, go back to his life? Don't count on it. The Waukegan News-Sun is reporting

Seals should return to the political fray in two years, said state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, Lake County Democratic chairman. "I think he'll be back," he said. "I'm going to encourage him."

I hope not. There are too many questions that were never asked of Dan Seals and too many explanations lacking. Next time the Democrats should take the time and trouble to look for someone local, not a Barak Obama clone with good social skills sent over from DNC central casting with a message carefully crafted to pull in the maximum Hollywood left-of-liberal election buck.

There is some coverage of the election over at the Wilmette Life; g0 have a look there provided you go directly after the election. Wilmette Life links go dead fast.

I always like those pictures of candidates at the polls, no matter what the party, and I'm always happy to see them. Interestingly enough, there are no pictures showing Dan Seals showing up at the polls to cast his vote. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Previous posts on this race

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Whoa! Is it Tony Peraica for Cook County Board President?

Am I missing something here?At the risk of becoming another Tribune, It 's Peraica for President of the Cook County Board. The County Clerk's website is reporting that with 88% of the vote in, it's Peraica by 21 points. Click here to see for yourself at David Orr's Infonet.

Update 11:30 am: Or am I missing something? Daily Herald says its Stroger.

Update 12:41 pm: Kansas City Star says those number are wrong and it's Stroger.

Update: 7:45 pm: I've been thinking about this all day, and realized that the Cook County Clerk reports Suburban Results and the Chicago Board of Elections reports Chicago results. You have to add the two together to come up with the correct result. Hey, it was a helluva run, Tony, God bless. I think I was as blurry-eyed as the rest of the crew watching the election. Mea culpa. Dear Reader, If I led you astray, it is all my fault. What I was seeing and reporting on was only suburban results. It's perfectly clear the lesson here: bloggers aren't about to replace the seasoned reporters of the main stream media. Think I'll get a little sleep tonight. Later on, I'll post thoughts on the Mark Kirk - Dans Seals race. Then its back to the usual. I enjoyed being a political blog for a bit, but I enjoyed seeing Mark Kirk win even more.

Cook County, Illinois Election Official: "Stick With Us"

**Updated - Scroll Down**

It's nearly 3:30 am, and you know things aren't going well when election officials are onTV in the middle of the night saying that actually the election went quite well, but Sequoia has some questions to answer. It's being reported that some of those precincts that haven't been counted are from New Trier Township, and so some are likely from Wilmette.

It looks as if Todd Stroger has gone home, but Tony Peraica is still up and asking questions. "This is an absolute outrage. After spending 60 million dollars of the taxpayer's money we end up hand counting the election? " Since no-nonsense Peraica staffer Dan Proft (who always does his numbers and knows what they mean) is still awake and asking questions, you can be sure that this one isn't over yet.

If they are calling the race, national news outlets are mostly reporting a Kirk victory, but as far as I know, neither Kirk nor Seals has made any statements.

Pam Zeckman is now reporting that the major problem is that when it was time for the election results to be transmitted, the machines didn't work. Peraica appears to have evidence of a questionable chain-of-custody of the ballots, and was earlier denied the ability to poll watch at the Board of Elections.

Ah, elections Cook County style; it's what we do for fun.

Update: 3:43 am and Tony Peraica says that the results from 1,000 precincts are still outstanding. 3:57 The reporters are saying something like 157 precincts.

Update: 4:22 am Okay, time for bed, but if you're still up looking for info, you might like the two following articles on "hacking the vote"--ie stealing the election results through technology on the type of machines you likely voted on. Quick read here. Lots of info here.

Peraica Supporters to Board of Elections: "Count Every Vote!"

I'm sorry; I just couldn't help it. Thankfully, we spent millions of the taxpayers' dollars to avoid the hanging chad. While ballot may be sitting uncounted at the Board of Elections in downtown Chicago, we are grateful for progress.


Listen to Tony Peraica's serious concerns.

Election Results in Wilmette: Where are our ballots?

Above is the photo of the famous headline from the Chicago Tribune, a result of news people going to bed too early, or perhaps just putting the paper to bed too soon.

The voter information link at David Orr's website shows a lot of precincts that don't seem to be counted. Thank goodness the voter has been saved from the peril of the "hanging chad!" In fact, think I have a picture of that; I'll go looking.

Curious about Dan Seals and Mark Kirk? It's pretty clear we have a result, but I'm unwilling to enter the Tribune's Hall of Election Fame.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In Illinois 10th, Vote for Mark Kirk

Earlier posts have focused on why Dan Seals, candidate for Congress from Illinois' tenth congressional District, is wrong for Congress and wrong for the North Shore. Since he's a newcomer, we really never took off the gloves, thinking that politics should be a gentlemen's game. If you want more, you will have to go looking yourself, although there are a number of clues sprinkled among the links on the pages of this blog. As the kids say, "That's what Google's for," and you will find that even a review of Seals own webpages and his links yields interesting results.

Seals' opponent is Mark Kirk, a three term Congressman who, unlike Seals, has deep ties to the district. Kirk is endorsed by every newspaper, including the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Herald, the Pioneer Press and the News Sun up in Waukegan. For a quick read of the reasons for endorsement, just click here.

Seals, whose support comes from the usual sources of Democrat funding and from entrenched Democratic politicians, has had the luxury of being a full-time candidate for Congress for the past year. Six years ago Congressman Mark Kirk, then Congressman John Porter's Chief-of-Staff, beat out nine other candidates in a hotly contested primary. Since that time he has unified both Porter's independent base and supporters of his opponent's primary campaign. This has not been an easy task, and is one more reason why Mark Kirk is right for Congress and right for the North Shore.

Internet Freedom: Invitation to an Online Protest at RSF

Ever been to an international online demonstration? Me neither. Nevertheless, I plan to attend my first this coming Tuesday and I'd like to have you come along. The cause? Internet censorship. The place? Reporters Without Borders website, www.rsf.org, which explains:

No one should ever be prevented from posting news online or writing a blog, but they are in the 13 countries singled out by Reporters Without Borders for a 24-hour online protest against Internet censorship.

Worldwide, 61 people are currently in prison for posting subversive content on a blog or website. Reporters Without Borders is compiling a list of 13 countries whose government are Internet enemies because they censor and block online content
that criticizes them. The Internet scares. Censors of every kind exploit its
flaws and attack those who pin their hopes on it.

The protest will take place from 11 am on Tuesday, November 7 through 11 am Tuesday, November 8. Since the announced times are Paris times, you'll need to do this sometime Tuesday. What do you do?

Go to www.rsf.org during this 24-hour period, find the list of 13 countries that are Internet enemies and click on an inter-active map of the world to help make the Internet black holes disappear. Each click will help to change the map's appearance. The aim is to re-establish the Internet in the countries where it is censored, to rebuild it before the 24 hours are over. Every vote will be counted. Every click will help Reporters Without Borders to speak with more force when it condemns behaviorviour of those regimes that censor what should an arena for free expression.

If you take any time to read blogs around the world--and I encourage that for some insight into how others think--you will know what a serious problem Internet censorship and the blocking of blogs presents.

If you are in the USA you are lucky. All you need to do to counteract anything said here is to click that "GET YOUR OWN BLOG" button at the top of the page and just start writing. Many other people around the world not only don't have that option, they also won't be able to see what you have written. This problem continues to plague countries around the world--in far more countries than the worst offenders Reporters Without Borders reports. In the past year countries which you might think fairly free such as India, Pakistan, Bahrain and Greece have been affected. So c'mon to the online demonstration. Ideas matter, and they matter a lot. Make your voice heard. On next Tuesday, November 7, just click here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dan Seals: Attorney General Madigan Investigates Campaign Fundraising

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Attorney General Lisa Madigan is investigating fundraising emails sent by a worker for the Seals for Congress campaign. The Seals' supporter, an employee working in Madigan's criminal enforcement division, allegedly sent the fundraising communications from a state computer on state time.

"We take these allegations very seriously and have referred [them] to our inspector general for appropriate action," said Madigan spokeswoman Cara Smith. "Any use of state resources for political purposes is prohibited." Click here for the entire story.

Last summer, the Federal Election Commission sent Seals' campaign a letter regarding its compliance with federal law regarding contributions to the Seals for Congress campaign, and you can see that letter by clicking here. Did the Seals campaign continue to take thousands of dollars from contributors without obtaining the information that is required by Federal Law? You be the judge! Click here to see for yourself a list of Dan Seals for Congress contributors and decide where the truth lies.

Want to know more about fundraising issues facing the Seals Campaign? The Backyard Conservative has her say here.

For a quick overview of the Federal Election Campaign Act, click here for the article from Wikipedia. To read the "Campaign Guide for Congresssional Candidates and Committees" from the Federal Election Commission click here. To access the guide from the House of Representatives click here. For an interesting old news article on of campaign finance reform in 2000, click here.

Blogswara is Back: More Free Music for Your ipod

Ever hear of a band where the members never met each other? Last July I enjoyed intoducing you to Blogswara, the online music group started by bloggers who meet up on the Internet and not in a studio. Their first album led me to say, "You might be thinking that this is what would have happened if Ravi Shankar moved to California, met Ottmar Liebert, and got a band."

Wednesday, Blogswara released its second album, and the folks over there were kind enough to stop over and tip me about it. Not only has this timely tip saved me from being sucked into the vortex of political commentary, I've actually been listening and enjoying myself.

This time around, Blogswara has a new sound, more World to my ears, but very compelling. Just click here and you'll be listening right away.

Think I'm going commercial and trying to sell you something? Hey, what do you take me for anyway? This is all free listening and free download for your ipod or hard drive--there's nothing to buy, and if you want a CD you'll have to make it yourself and print out the album cover. How's that for a homemade Christmas present 21st century style?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fill-up Your ipod for Free: Classical Music from Italy

Be smart, turn off the TV, and you will be saved from the host of political ads which, if you were from Mars, might just convince you that only crooks and scoundrels run for office. Look at this blog: we've been distracted from the animals, for goodness sake, and sucked into the vortex of political comment.

To fill the void created by TV silence and calm the nerves, we have found something for most everyone who likes classical music. We have music for your hard-drive, music for your ipod, and music for people who are more interested in listening than saving. It's the gift from a number of young musicians trying to get their talents heard,increasingly difficult since the advent of recorded music.

Luckily for us, many musicians are using the internet to introduce their music, and I've found a great site featuring classical music from young musicians in from classical music powerhouse, Italy. Musikethos.org Is a non-profit site, using a Creative Commons License to enhance your listening pleasure. There are plenty of old favorites there, as well as more modern works. But don't waste your time reading more; hurry on over to to their download homepage http://www.musikethos.org/wiki/me.php/Download/Homepage for an entirely new experience.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dan Seals Quiz: What is the Picture and Why Don't You Care?

IL-10 Congressional Candidate Dan Seals recently changed his website from calling for Redeployment from Iraq rather than withdrawal from Iraq, and I figured maybe he had learned that the Naval Station at Great Lakes is in the Heart of the District from which he seeks to be elected.

Clever fellow, Seals probably knows enough about elections that the cadets stationed there vote at their home of record and not in the District. But the problem is not that Dan Seals is a Democrat, but that he is a Democrat who doesn't know the district from which he seeks to be elected or at least doesn't care. Mayor Daley has sterling credentials as a Democrat, yet he wasted no time in telling fellow Democrat John Kerry that he should apologize for his remarks to the thousands of young people who seek to serve their country in our armed forces with dignity and honor.

Not a word in support of the fine young men and women at Great Lakes Naval Training Station on Seals' website, nothing. We deserve better. Just one more reason why Dan Seals is wrong for Congress and wrong for the North Shore.

Quiz answer: The picture, above, is the is headquarters for Naval Service Training Command, Navy Region Midwest, and Commanding Officer Naval Station Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Marina, on Lake Michigan, is in the background.

Further thought: Kerry's website states "Dan's the man in Chicago". Hmmm. Sometimes in politics you gotta hold your friends close.

Update: Is Dan Seals Kerry Smart? You can see for yourself here. Compare John Kerry's view to Dan Seals' view that if people of Iraqi want Democracy they can fight for it themselves, nevermind how many purple fingers we have seen.

Update: Friends of John Kerry made its latest contribution to the Seals' campaign on November 3. Click here.

Dan Seals: North Shore Pretender, 44th Ward Regular

Dan Seals is running a campaign to get elected in a district that he has few ties to and doesn't understand. While we know from his website and from his verbiage that his campaign reflects his relative ignorance of the district he doesn't live in and doesn't understand, he could always learn, right? Not so fast.

To add insult to injury, its getting clearer all the time that Dan Seals consistently brings in his out-of-district supporters to help his out-of-district campaign. His supporters deny this fact, but at best they delude themselves.

Dennis Byrne, a Chicago suburbanite and long time Sun-Times columnist, now an independent writer, pointed out in the other day's Tribune that the Seals' supporter knocking on your doors likely a member of Chicago's 44th ward, not your neighbor. He said,

The Illinois Democratic Network, or IllinoisDemNet as it calls itself on its Web site, is proud to be transporting campaigners from Chicago (and Evanston) to work for Democrats in congressional races from the Wisconsin line to as far south as Joliet.

There, they are knocking on doors and making calls for Democratic candidates Dan Seals (against incumbent Republican Mark Kirk in the north suburban 10th District), incumbent Melissa Bean (against Republican challenger David McSweeney in the northwest suburban 8th District), Democrat Tammy Duckworth (against Republican Peter Roskam for Henry Hyde's seat in the west suburban 6th District) and John Laesch (against House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the west and southwest suburban 14th District).

This may not sound like much of a deal to some Chicagoans who have no use for the suburbs to start with, but suburbanites, such as myself, might not like it because we, after all, live out here in part to be away from the city's lousy schools, higher crime rates and politics as it is practiced in Chicago. Suburbs to Chicago: Butt out. Do we send in squads of suburban Republicans to work Democratic precincts? Haven't you screwed up Chicago and Cook County governments enough already? Do we need lakefront and limousine liberals to tell us how to vote?

IllinoisDemNet asserts that it has no connection with the Chicago organization or any other Democratic organization, that it's just a bunch of progressives, liberals and moderates who are passionate about their cause. Except that the volunteers are picked up at the 44th Ward Democratic Organization, in the district of Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (the guy who parachuted outsider
Duckworth into the 6th District race) and the Democratic Party headquarters in Evanston, in Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky's district. After I inquired, the Web site deleted the fact that pick-up sites were connected to party offices. Not deleted were some destinations, such as the Duckworth and Bean field offices.

Could this be a trial balloon for the City of Chicago to take the bold move to annex the Northern Suburbs as they once annexed Ravenswood and Rogers Park? Well, you never know. Just one more reason why Dan Seals is wrong for Congress and wrong for the North Shore

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Begging the Question: What Do We Know About Dan Seals Anyway?

There's nothing illegal about Dan Seals moving into a neighboring district and running for an office in which he doesn't live. There might not even be anything wrong with Dan Seals running for Congress in a district to which he appears to have absolutely no historic ties, because the decision ultimately rests in the hands of the voters. However, trying to find information on Dan Seals isn't too easy, and we have some question that no one seems to be answering.

How long did Dan Seals he live in Illinois before declaring for Congress? How long did he work for his employer before he declared for Congress? Does he belong to any 10th congressional district civic groups or clubs? Does he belong to a local house of worship (in fairness, many candidates keep this fact from the public's eyes)? Has he ever served on a local board, or a board in the IL-10 district which he aspires to represent? Does he have anything in common with the voters of the tenth congressional district other than being tall, having a master's degree and travelling abroad?

If you go to Dan Seals website, there are precisely six (6) sentences about Dan Seals. For some people, I suppose the words "Democrat,""Clinton Administration" and "Washington, D.C." are enough. If you click on his Endorsements, it is mostly elected Democrats and Unions. For my way of thinking, the ultra liberal, way-left-of-center agenda revealed on Seals' website is just too radical for the North Shore.

Wilmette Police Warning Regarding Traffic Stops

A friend forwarded an email to me from the Wilmette Police Department and asked me if I could put the information on The Blog. She receives emails on a somewhat irregular basis from the Wilmette Police via an outfit called silent partner alert, and also thought I might be interested in the service. I'm a little leery of signing up, because it requires opening an attachment (a no-no when it comes to safe computing practices), but she assures me she has had no problem. You can sign up to receive those emails here and read more about the service at the Wilmette Police Department's website here. Here is the alert:

The Wilmette Police Department received an anonymous complaint that on Tuesday, October 24th, shortly after 8:30pm, a female driver was stopped and inappropriately touched by a subject impersonating a police officer. The offender as described only as an older male and his vehicle was described only as a car without license plates. The incident allegedly occurred on the east side of town near Wilmette Avenue. Although the Wilmette Police Department is unable to verify this complaint, we recognize that this is a good opportunity to discuss traffic stop protocol and safety.

The Wilmette Police Department conducts almost 5,000 traffic stops a year. Fully marked police squad cars are primarily used for this function. We occasionally utilize unmarked vehicles in response to specific enforcement details or in the event that a particular neighborhood is experiencing a crime pattern.

In Wilmette, all police officers notify the police dispatcher that they are making a traffic stop. If you suspect that you are being stopped by a police impersonator please do the following:

Slow down and signal your intentions to pull over while proceeding to a well lit or populated area. If you become suspicious of the officer stopping you, call 9-11 to verify the officer’s legitimacy/identity. The dispatcher will be able to tell you if it is a Wilmette Police officer making the stop. More importantly, the dispatcher will send an officer to check on your safety. Stay in your vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel and your door locked.

Although incidents of individuals impersonating the police are rare, they can occur. If you observe a suspicious traffic stop please immediately notify the police. If you have additional questions or concerns you can contact our Community Relations Officer, Jessica Black, at 847-853-7555.

This email however raises three troubling questions, however:
1.)How do you signal your intention to pull over while proceeding to a well lit area
2.) How do you reach for your cell phone and also keep your hands on the steering wheel? (ie: what will the police officer think you are reaching for?
3.) Where is a well-lit area at night in Wilmette, any way?

Unfortunately no guidance is given.

Chicago Bar Association Judicial Retention Guide for Cook County

2010 UPDATE: You can find 2010 Judicial information for the November election and their recommendations at the Chicago Bar Association website.
Lest we forgot amidst the visible campaigns of most candidates seeking election next Tuesday, we have both judges up for election and judges seeking retention. Confused? You won't go too wrong following the recommendations of the Chicago Bar Asssociation. Volunteers donate hundreds of hours of their time on their judicial evaluation process.

If you interested in more about the process, you can click here. If you just want the guide, follow this link. NOTE: As of October 14, 2008 the previous two links are dead, but the Chicago Bar Association still has plenty of information.

UPDATE: For 2008 judicial retention and recommendations, choose this link.