Thursday, June 28, 2007

Victory for America: The Immigration Bill

With news that the Immigration Bill has stopped in its tracks, and the Fourth of July just a few days away, I'm putting up the flag!

The latest talk that first we should secure the borders, and then solve the problem of millions of guests who have not entered this country through legal channels, seems very sensible. Why the United States, in effect, should give preference to immigrants from only one country is contrary to traditional immigration law and doesn't make much sense. We need immigrants who can commit to being Americans first, and are willing to put the time and effort in learning English.

Details of the vote

Why its not good to encourage

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Latest Version of Immigration Act

The latest version of the Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is here, and its searchable. We will refrain from any comment.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Obama at Hartford: the Last Hurrah?

It's my impression that the Obama campaign is over, finished, toast. Why? I cannot remember any other candidate running for president who insulted the religion of the American people and was given the privilege of heading his party for the general election.

At a speech before the UCC, his church denomination, Obama made charges that some people have hijacked Christianity. That doesn't play well with me, it won't be liked by the general public, and it won't be liked by many Congregationalists, nationwide, who still believe that each person receives his own insight on religion through a relationship with God, earnest study of scriptures, and discussion with others.

Obama is missing the traditional respect that candidates show for all of America's many religions--we have something like 600 Protestant denominations alone. This is serious stuff.

Obama gave his speech in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, founded by the Rev. Thomas Hooker in 1636. Hooker was a Congregationalist minister and a tremendous religious and political thinker, whose many writings are still important today. Hooker once wrote "there neither is, nor never was any mere naturall man absolutly rightuous in himself" and hence "voide of all unrightuousnes, of all synne." Somehow I find that quote important, and I will leave you to ponder that thought.

Update: Oops! Re-reading this post makes me realize that I was quite unclear. The Obama campaign is not about to fold its tent and disappear in the night; what I meant was that the Obama campaign--through ill-chosen remarks--has already lost his party's nomination, although it will likely be months before that is evident.

Further Update: Atheist Austin Cline has written a tremendously insightful article on Obama's speech at Hartford in front of the UCC and I recommend it highly. Obama's speech troubles him, in particular he questions Obama's commitment to the separation of church and state. Two worthwhile quotes: "Doing 'the Lord's work' is a thread that runs through Christian churches; in secular politics, however, politicians are expected to do the work of the people," and "If a politician cannot use evidence and reason to justify their positions and must resort to private religious revelation, they should give up politics and enter the ministry."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rethinking Vegetables

Zut alors! Just when I was thinking about telling you about heading over to the French Market in downtown Wilmette Saturday morning to scoop up some of those lovely vegetables, I read this. I am not sure I will ever be the same . . .

Free Speech for Bloggers Under Attack by Obama

The word is out that Barack Obama has a problem with bloggers observing his events. Do read the post. I find it strange that Obama's campaign, with its huge Internet presence, doesn't welcome bloggers to his fold.

h/t El Rider

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dog Art

Yes, the picture above was painted by a dog. And here's why.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wrongdoing Congressional Style: The Immigration Backlog

A very bad news day indeed. Congress should be holding hearings on legal immigration problems, not focusing on making more voters through legislation. The news is out:

1. 111,000 USA citizenship applications have disappeared. Where are they?

2. 4 million (legal) immigration applications remain unprocessed.

3. 100,000 background checks for legal immigrants need to be performed.

4. 600,000 fugitive deportee cases are backlogged.

h/t and more info: Michelle

Dan Seals for Congress: Bad News for the North Shore

It's a sad news day. I'm sorry to report that Dan Seals, the Democrat who ran for Congress in 2006 in the Illinois 10-th Congressional District, is still running. He is now collecting contributions for 2008 on his website. Dan, the nice guy with the jack-booted thug, give-'em-no-quarter supporters, ran a USA-wide money collection effort for the purpose of winning a Congressional seat from an area that he doesn't live in, only nearby. He has no historic ties to the area, and it showed every minute in his campaign. His historic ties are to the Hyde Park area of Chicago where ultra left winger Barack Obama got his political start. Time was, when people who sought Congressional seats got some experience first. Not Seals, who seems mostly a candidate scientifically chosen as a result of a focus group.

All good North Shore people know Gresham's Law. Czech Republic, anyone?

Supermarket 2.0: Making Shopping User Friendly

What if you went shopping and the store was like the Internet--would that be goofy or what? I discovered a video--actually a short-short movie-- that should give you a real chuckle. You will hear allusions to blog comments, Amazon the Internet bookseller, Pandora radio, and many more. Warning! This is a very foreign production and there is an absolutely teeth jarring pronunciation of "Quaker" (as in Chicago's own Quaker Oats and as in Quakr a web 2.0 app, which was an advanced joke I didn't get. There's also a joke about water, and I didn't get that either.)

Click here to watch the move at, and see how many allusions you can catch!

h/t Dina Mehta, via her blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Liberty, Deluded Republican Presidents, and History

Ronald Reagan, the President of the USA from 1981-1989, wasn't disliked abroad--he was a laughingstock, an ex-actor, worthy only of contempt. Viewed as a man without even much of an education, citizens of foreign countries felt comfortable with looking down on America and Americans. Nevertheless, Reagan believed to the very core of his being that people around the globe deserved freedom, would thrive on democracy, and were capable of self-rule. Many believed Reagan unable to face reality, and a creature of delusion.

In 1987 a wall divided the old German capital of Berlin, sectioning the city into a free West and an unfree East. For twenty-five years the city had been divided, and many from the East risked their lives to try to flee to the West.

In 1987, Ronald Reagan travelled to Berlin and gave a speech, challenging the leader of the USSR to allow freedom to prevail. His speech contained the famous words: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." You might enjoy seeing that speech, which is available online, or reading the transcript.

We now have another Republican president who also believes to the very core of his being that people around the globe deserve freedom, would thrive on democracy, and are capable of self-rule. Like Reagan, he is disliked at home and abroad, and a laughingstock among the Democrats. Like Reagan, he is willing to spend all his political capital for the sake of freedom for others.

The German capital is now reunited, free passage from Eastern Europe to Western Europe is a reality. Ronald Reagan is viewed as one of the greatest presidents in history.

The historical assessment of George Bush's presidency is years from being made. Freedom for the mideast is still in doubt. Nevertheless, there are wheels in motion that could change the world forever, and for the better. Let's hope

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Listening to the Sound of the Cicada

The "plague of locusts" is definately here in Wilmette, and I was thinking about taking a video with sound and posting it up on Youtube so you could hear their racket. Turns out there is no need to do so, as Peter Gena, a local composer, has done something really interesting. Gena, who lives a few blocks from Wilmette's western border in Glenview (and who also is a professor at the world-famed School of the Art Institute in Chicago), has placed a microphone in the window of a shed in his wooded backyard. The microphone is attached to a streaming internet feed, and it picks up the sounds of the locusts.
Reaching the site--while not hard--takes a little skill with your computer mouse. Simply click here, and a page will open with a map of the world, showing live audio feeds around the globe. Go to Chicago, where there are three audio feeds, indicated by tiny boxes. (The little orange boxes indicate that the microphone is currently live.)If you hover a bit with your mouse over Chicago, you will find the picture marked "Glenview." Click on that, and you will hear the sounds picked-up by the microphone, pictured above.
Gena, who is an avant garde composer, has based a number of his musical compositions on an interesting marriage between science and music, including DNA sequencing and other scientific data. Professor Gena, who has a long-standing interest in the use of computers, has put some of his music online, including the first three minutes of his "Red Blood Cells," which you just might find fascinating.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Paris Hilton: Habeus Corpus, Contempt, and English Common Law

If the interest in Paris Hilton's troubles in going back to jail continues, looks as if we are all going to be learning advanced criminal law this weekend. Who knew it would take a celebrity to teach us? By Monday, we will all be discussing English common law, the "Great Writ" of Habeus Corpus, the meaning of contempt of court, and the traditional power of the "shire reeve" or sheriff.

Will Paris' lawyers argue that once Paris Hilton was sent to the Century Regional Detention Facility, she was in the custody of Los Angeles County Sheriff, and no longer subject to the initial court order for the period of incarceration? If that is the case, she might just get to go back home. One glitch: Judge Michael T. Sauer is a jurist with 35 years experience who has also argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Chances are he knows what he is doing, and Paris' lawyers will lose. The interesting twist is that Paris' health problems may not be common to a prison population--assuming that its more than poly-substance abuse--which possibly could affect the outcome.

Paris' antics have given the public hours of pleasure. We hope that the young lady who once said in a David Letterman show interview, "I like to entertain," and "I want to be alone," is feeling better.

Paris' heath problem

Order: Bring Defendant to court!

Order: Paris sent to jail; contempt discharged

Update: Cheated! Just as Paris' lawyers seemed to be on the verge of a unique application of habeus corpus, teaching the world about some arcane remedy heretofore unknown, Paris decided to stay in jail after all. So much for common law, sheriffs, and judges. Paris, who first came on public radar due to some extremely private video matter, suddenly developed inhibitions? Apparently modesty and camera shyness sent her home; no wonder the judge sent her back. In the meantime, Paris gets what Paris wants--she's in the infirmary "heavily sedated."

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Trier Triennial Reassessment

All of New Trier Township's tax parcels have been reassessed and the Cook County Assessor says the notices of reassessment were mailed June, 7 2007. There is an enormous amount of information over at the Assessor's website, so its where you should first turn if you are in shock, awe, or disbelief.

The New Trier Assessor, Joann Schrier Gordon, (who doesn't assess, but assists taxpayers in regard to their assessments) also has information on her website and a seminar planned.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fierce, Bullying, Intolerance Overtakes Left-wing of Blogosphere

Today, we are recommending an article by Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors. He notes that a terrible lack of civility has begun to take place on left-wing blogs. Because most would classify Klein with the left, the comments are remarkable. Says Klein:

"[T]he smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn't move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 6, 2007. D-Day Remembered: The Greatest Generation Return to Normandy

Normandy France is quiet now, and has returned to a slow, simple, agrarian life. The days when it was a battlefield as the free world fought the forces of oppresssion are long gone. World War II ended more than 60 years ago, an earlier century, an earlier millenium. France is free, and its citizens again choose its destiny.

As old men, the American soldiers now known as the "Greatest Generation" return to the land that they fought for in their youth. They take pictures of other old men. They shake hands. Separated by language, they know one word in common, and they speak it to one another: "Brother."

Returning to Normandy is an emotional experience for the American men who landed on the beaches Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. They travel there to show their families where they landed, where they fought. They pay their respects at the graves of friends, they walk on the beach, and they remember.

D-Day. 2007. With thanks to those who gave so much. With hopes that one day, today's young Americans can return to a free country which was the battlefield of their youth, shake hands with its citizens, and call one another "brother." Note: The gentlemen pictured above are both US World War II veterans, and were both at Normandy.

Previous post on the Normandy American Cemetery

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Cero Peso Note: Political Currency Everyone Will Understand

With news that the hyra-headed immigraton bill is back and healthier-than-ever, we wanted to make sure that you got some of the new cero peso notes, shown above, featuring our President looking a lot like Benito Juarez. Using el cero sends a message to the politician or party of your choice next time you are solicited for a political contribution. Just slip a few ceros in the fundraising envelope to let them know what you think of the latest immigration bill.

You can get all the ceros you will need from Hot Air. And continue practicing your Spanish.

UPDATE: Could we learn from the French, who plan tough measures against illegals?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"Hogzilla 2," the Giant Feral Hog is Just "Fred."

In Alabama they love hunting, tall tales, and fooling gullible outsiders in no particular order, so it isn't surprising that global coverage of a news story of a giant hog, supposedly killed by 11 year old Jamison Stone came from this mostly rural southern state. Just last week, Alabama talk shows were carefully explaining that the size of the monster-sized feral pig was due to living near the catfish farms that dot the state, and some special fish feed with hormones for fast growth. (Jameson is pictured above, this time with a giant rabbit, not a hog.)

While the details of Jameson's hunt were a little sketchy, his dad put up a special website with details, and that website continues to change as the hog story grows ever taller. The boy was scheduled for fame on a morning talk show until questions began to surface about whether the story was real. After an early story emerged, Rob Nelson, from Sunnyvale, California put a link on the Internet showing how the original picture, featured on Drudge Report, had been manipulated.

At the moment, it's beginning to look a lot as if Hogzilla 2 is simply good, old Fred.

South Africa's NMMU Choir Opens Ravinia, Wows Audience with Versatility, Skill

Ravinia's first night of the season started out Friday, June 1, 2007, with a bang, as thunder crashed over Bennett-Gordon Hall. Featured was the 40-member Nelson Mandela Metropolitan (NMMU) Chorus under the direction of Junita Lamprecht-Van Dijk. The 40 member chorus, who range in age from 19-49, are amazingly talented, highly skilled musicians, and present a concert far different from those usually heard.

The concert showcased compositions of the choir director's husband, South African composer Peter-Louis van Dijk, who has composed a commissioned piece based on the poems of Carl Sandberg to mark the 5oth anniversity celebration of the Chicago Children's Choir. The new composition will debut on June 2, 2007 in Chicago. The first half of the concert was all classical; the second brought the audience to its feet with high energy African drumming, dancing, and traditional African songs.

The choir will be performing Saturdy, June 2, 2007 with the Chicago Children's Choir at the Civic Opera House, and on Sunday, June 3, at the DuSable Museum.

If you have a chance to attend these performances, or any of the others while the group is on its USA tour, make plans to go if you can. The NMMU Choir provided a unique and highly enjoyable musical experience.

Note: We have had many visitors to this post from South Africa. If you are a member of the choir, or a family member or friend of someone in the choir, there are additional pictures from the Ravinia performance which we would be happy to email you. Just click on "Profile" for a link to the email address.

Wilmette Weekend: June 1-2, 2007

It's a good weekend to vacation in the Wilmette area. Even if you are not caught up with your yard work, take some time this weekend to go have fun! The French Market will be open at the Wilmette Train station until 1 pm on Saturday. There's a wine tasting along with cooking demonstations at the Chicago Botanical Garden both Saturday and Sunday, and if you have a few hours, Chicago's Gospel Fest at Millenium Park is free and first rate. Do go see the visiting NMMU Choir from South Africa if at all possible. The Deerfield Festival of Fine Arts runs from 10-5 both Saturday and Sunday and features, art, music, and food.