Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dan Seals' "Professorgate" Hits Mainstream Media

Today was not a good day for Dan Seals, Democrat candidate in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District. While candidates generally are happy for any coverage, the negative stories in the mainstream media cover the growing contraversy about how Seals characterizes himself. Articles in both the Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune address the fact that Seals--who doesn't even live in the district in which he is running for office-- has been saying he is a Professor at Northwestern University. The truth is, candidate Seals’ sole teaching credential is one night class that is scheduled to be taught in Northwestern’s continuing education department long after the February 5, 2008 primary.

Over the last month, Seals has come under increasing scrutiny by local bloggers and commenters for resume padding on this issue. Seals has not yet taught even one class. Lacking in the discussion is what will happen if enough life-long learners fail to sign up for the class to form.

The Team America 10th Blog has a series of posts, complete with dozens of comments, which appeared on January 5, January 16, January 25, and January 30 regarding what 10th district residents believe is--at best--lack of truthfulness by Seals. You can read the Tribune story on their website. The Pioneer Press story, however, will be available online for only a brief period of time; after that click here for a link to a copy.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Just in case you didn't see this . . .

h/t farenblog

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union

I think Washington is getting the message. During the State of the Union speech, both parties seemed to be exercising their very best cordial manners, leading one to think--perhaps--that there just might be a few leaders in Washington who would be able to effect change if some was needed, and possibly work together across party lines. Our Senator in Absentia, Mr. Obama, appeared to be joined at the hip to Mr. Teddy Kennedy throughout, no doubt for better photo ops. Nothing says principled leadership like Teddy Kennedy, I always say. I was sorry to see that Mr. Obama apparently refused to shake hands with Mrs. Clinton; I wasn't too taken with his principled leadership.

It's lucky this isn't a political blog, because during the speech I fell asleep, and I am not sure for how long. I woke up in time to see President Bush leave the chambers, but unfortunately I missed the best line of the evening.

Obama Pal Rezko Arrested--Deemed Flight Risk

Yes, Wilmette's Tony Rezko--the thorn in the side of Barack Obama-- was arrested at his home this morning, and is currently in custody due to bond revocation. Rezko is indicted ; his trial is scheduled for February. At issue was a $3.5 million wire transfer to Rezko from Lebanon, of which Rezko is a native. The Tribune has the story (and do note the Related links to the left of the story). There is a long list of links discussing Rezko and Obama at Flying Debris, and Wilmette's Backyard Conservative weighs in with her thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Deer in Eagle River, Wisconsin

This picture of deer in Eagle River, Wisconsin arrived via email. I thought you might like it. The homeowners were feeding the deer, so I imagine that this is an uncommon sight. If you click on the photo, a larger version will open and you will be able to see the grain on the ground.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Hillary and Barack Show: I'm Lovin' It!

For eight years Republicans have had to put up with the Democrats exhibiting the rudest political behavior I have ever seen in my life. In the name of advancing their agenda, the spoiled brat Democrats have pointed fingers, accused, made faces, and done everything short of sticking out their tongue at their opposition. I imagine they have lost some voters with their tactics; they certainly have offended me. If practice makes perfect, it's not surprising that the Democrats continue their puerile behavior when it comes to their own primary.

Now, Hillary and Barack are fighting about Ronald Reagan, of all people. As an ardent anti-Socialist and a firm believer in the capability of the average woman or man, The Gipper would have enjoyed this. He also would have pointed out that the current crop of Democrats are only fighting about the details of the kind of Socialism Democrats want to impose on the American people, and possibly warned us of the price to personal liberty we will have us pay.

Ronald Reagan not only had perspective, he had a sense of humor, and I am sure he could see the irony in this little Democrat squabble. Personally, I can't wait until the next chapter of the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama show, and I like to imagine our former president-- one of history's greatest advocates of Freedom--as pictured here.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obama and the Rezko Factor:
America Learns What Illinois Knew

It's amazing that the people of this country did not start asking questions earlier about a presidential candidate who hails from Cook County, Illinois. Our former governor is now in prison, and both parties have well-documented problems with corruption, with plenty of public officials over the years who have found themselves taking unscheduled vacations (under lock and key) at government expense. Chicago vote fraud is legendary in the annals of American politics, and just yesterday, the local paper featured the following "joke haiku"

In my house we vote
Even my uncle votes
May he rest in peace

This was, after all, the town where Al Capone made his reputation, and a town that looks the other way when only a "tolerable amount" of corruption is involved.

Perhaps it is the concept of a "tolerable amount of corruption" which could explain how Barack Obama and his election team were able to stake out and maintain a position that Barack Obama is the squeaky-clean agent of change in the Democrat presidential primary, despite the fact that Obama's early reputation was a Democrat machine politician who was mostly known in the Illinois state Senate for his intense loyalty to Emil Jones.

Sooner or later the name "Rezko" had to emerge in Barack Obama's campaign, and I'm glad Hillary Clinton brought it up well before Super Tuesday. Figuring that at this point this is more a Democrat problem than an American problem, I decided that the fairest approach would be to go looking at Democrat sources for the buzz on the Obama-Rezko connection.

A number of bloggers have done a great deal of the investigative research (although consulting Chicago newspapers would give any voter a clear picture) starting with one very pro-Hillary blogger who has a series entitled Rezko for Dummies Part I, Part II, and Part III. One of the more complete investigative complete posts, which includes images of letters signed by Barack Obama, can be found at My DD. The Daily Kos also weighs in. For those who wonder if Obama might have some problems that don't involve Rezko, this article discusses his poker-playing with lobbyists. Flaneur takes on the concept of community organizing, and the issues involved there.

Of course, for those looking for more partisan coverage The Backyard Conservative has a series of posts which discuss Mr. Rezko, and El Rider has been doing his part, and this blog has long questioned Mr. Obama's fitness for the Presidency.

Note: Mr. Rezko is indicted; he is not convicted. Unless he is convicted, he should be deemed innocent for all legal purposes. Further note: If elected President, Barack Obama's administration will be able to change the U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

On the Martin Luther King holiday, Wilmette salutes the thousands of ordinary Americans who heeded Dr. King's call for non-violence during the Civil Rights Era. The peaceful efforts of those who marched, sat-in, got arrested, or simply showed up, was as important as the historic, stirring speeches and celebrated leaders that now dominate history.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Seals: In Search of (Your Spare) Change

The man pictured above, whose name is Dan Seals, is running for Congress in Illinois' 10th Congressional District. He is a Democrat, and he is the favored candidate of his party in the upcoming primary. Unfortunately, he isn't bothering to run in the district where he lives, the nearby 9th Congressional District. The Chicago Tribune reports that he says he can't afford to move into the 10th.

While admittedly Seals has little in common with the district (assuming the people who do live in the district can afford to live there), by voting for him you can get him on the path to a salary of $169,300 per year. That would help him a lot. In his vision, you have the ability, he has the needs. Now that's change! (Not to mention that it sure beats standing around with a battered cup.)

Seals' adversary, Jay Footlik, seems a little smarter about the district, realizing that in the subprime meltdown, it is pretty cheap to rent. His sensible approach to the current economic situation has put him in the heart of the district which he seeks to represent. Unfortunately, sensible economic approaches aren't of much interest to Democrats.

I would note that if Mr. Seals were to run in his own district and win, he also would earn $169,300 per year, plus the usual perks of office.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just What is the Dog Trying to Tell Us?

Lately, the four-legged pal who lives at our house has taken to waking us up at night with a loud "Arf!" Most of the time we remain completely clueless about what he's trying to tell us, not to mention we have become a little crabby in the morning.

Thank goodness Hungarian scientists are studying what dogs are trying to say when they bark! The team used a computer program to analyze the meaning of more than 6,000 previously unrecognized canine communications. Unfortunately, these animal behavior scientists are limiting their research to Hungarian sheep dogs, but we'll stay tuned to the Animal Cognition journal in hopes of enlightenment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We Found Rick DiMaio, Our Missing Weatherman!

At our house, we prefer serious weather men, a Chicago specialty. Our two favorite meteorologists for many years have been Brant Miller and Rick DiMaio. Unfortunately, Rick seems to have gone missing, of late, with a very fluffy weather girl having taken his place. But we are not here to complain, we have good news!

One of our younger family members went on a hunt, and she found a Rick DiMaio website complete with a current forecast! On that website we also found a link to another website which tracks planes leaving from and arriving at O'Hare and Midway in real time. Make sure you click on "80 miles" for a view of the most airplanes. You can actually click on the planes for further information.

Monday, January 14, 2008

No Blue Screen of Death for my Little OLPC

I thought you might want an update on my progress with the OLPC. I am beginning to enjoy it, as it's one of the cuter little knick-knacks that sits on the table next to my couch. Tonight I was feeling courageous, and give it one more try. The battery was dead, and when I plugged it in, my journal told me I hadn't turned it on for over 2 weeks. I decided to try a simple little task: open some old e-mails, take out a little information, and put that information in the word processor.

For a bit, I was pretty pleased with my progress. I was able to connect to the Internet, go through the emails, put the information into a document, and have both applications open. I found myself doing a pretty good job navigating back and forth. I was becoming increasingly proud of myself when I realized that this was cumbersome and slow and a very poor use of my time.

I thought about saving the information and finishing the job later, but then I realized that not only did I not know how to save a document, it would be faster to copy the information from the document into an e-mail, and just finish the job later--somewhere else.

It was easy enough to select the information, but I found myself lost on how to copy it. I was also curious to see whether I could copy from one application and paste it into another. Since copying seemed pretty difficult I thought I would try Cntl + C, another experiment. Guess what? All the information I had put so carefully into the word processor disappeared, to be replaced simply by the letter c. As I started trying to figure out some way that I might be able to retrieve what I had tried to copy, the entire screen darkened somewhat, and everything froze. Completely. What looked a lot like a miniature piece of 8 1/2" x 11" inch paper covered the middle of the screen. Was this a sign? I let 20 minutes elapse and nothing had changed. I gave up.

While it was nice not to have to see that old-fashioned blue screen of death, I am still trying to figure out how the children will be able to learn to use their specially designed laptop. (Previous adventures with the OLPC)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Scimitar?

I went out looking for what our President was up to in the Mideast, and found the picture on the left, snapped at a welcoming ceremony in Manama, Bahrain. (That's Bahrain's king to his right.) While the specifics of that ceremony are a little lost on me, I was reminded of the old quote of Teddy Roosevelt. Since Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet, and Roosevelt's quote was in support of the Navy, I thought you might enjoy the picture.

President Bush is the first American President to visit Bahrain, and the Gulf News has a special edition. The Bahraini "Blogfather," Mahmood, decided to take a poll about the above picture, as the ceremony apparently also includes a song and a dance. With calls for a Youtube video of the event, I am sure someone had a cellphone and will be posting it in due course. Until then, we will have to use our imagination.

Update: Mahmood has some video up!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Don't Expect Any Answers from South Carolina

Are you seriously going to count on the people of South Carolina to properly analyze the candidates and come up with an answer? Recently, one of South Carolina's brightest and best came up with this:

Note: If you get an error message that the video is no longer available, just reload the page and everything should work.

Popcorn and Political Change

Tonight I decided to have some microwave popcorn and I pulled out a little bag from where we keep our snacks. As I unfolded it, I notice directions were in English, Spanish and some squiggly letters which upon closer inspection were Chinese. I found this very puzzling. I've seen Spanish, French, but never Chinese before on a food package. Since the popcorn was sold as a fundraiser for local scouts, I was left wondering whether there are a lot of Chinese scouts in Chicago, or whether a lot of Chinese people like popcorn. I am pretty sure this wasn't a special package designed for the Chinese community, as the two scouts pictured on the the wrapper looked as if they had commandeered a nephew of our governor and our junior senator.

For some reason I was reminded of one of the first years when the Cook County Clerk began to include election signage in English and Spanish along with voting supplies. This did not go over very well with a number of local election workers. On that particular election day that took me into a polling place in Winnetka, the judges had had their revenge. Every sign in every instance was cleverly posted in the Spanish version. The problem is that now I believe those signs might also be provided in Chinese. While a Spanish sign in Winnetka isn't going to create much confusion, what if those judges decide to go for the Chinese? Since I vote in Wilmette, that will not be a problem, but I would note that only the most elite would have yet mastered much Chinese.

And don't you think it was clever of me to use the word "change" in the title to this post? I'm learning from the candidates who all seem to be tossing it around with about as much care as I am.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Secret Under the Tree

Today I was walking by Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, and they were taking down the Christmas tree. I found that pretty interesting, as I was able to see how it was constructed. Basically, it was made like a tiered wedding cake, with large pine trees attached at the outside on every layer.

As I watched the crew work, I realized that hanging free from the first layer, cleverly hidden under the tree, was a large American flag, flying free in the wind. Closer inspection made it clear that was the case. I found that curious. Apparently it had been under the tree ever since it had been set up. I thought about that a while, and decided that is it possible that we might just view our flag as a symbol of luck? With nothing much on my mind, I started thinking about all those little things in our life that feature the American flag: a roll of stamps, a container of apple juice in my refrigerator, a key chain from a friend born abroad who features it on a give-away from her business, a couple of lapel pins in my dresser drawer, a refrigerator magnet . . .

What's your list?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Off of Politics and on to Amarillo

This humorous music video, featuring the Royal Dragoon Guards is already two years old and apparently a classic. I never saw it before today, but I found it very fun.

So much Internet, so little time. . .

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thanks, New Hampshire

A friend of mine called in a panic late yesterday, terribly concerned that her son might not be registered to vote, concerned about the talk that Obama was a shoo-in. My good (liberal) Republican pal was ready to give her entire family marching orders to go vote for Hillary Clinton at the primary. Meanwhile, I was having my own personal crisis, finding myself rooting for Hillary. Rooting for Hillary? How sick is that?

New Hampshire didn't disappoint, and the American people will have more time to look at all the potential Presidents; at the moment no decisions have been made. More time to see what these candidates believe in.

Was it also sick to laugh when I saw the disappointment in Obama supporter Jan Shakowsky's face on the ten o'clock news?

Oh, and hats off to the Obama team, who almost pulled off the political coup of this century. From word that an Irish Bookmaker had already decided to pay out for Obama, to the fainting Obama fan, from the first little New Hampshire town to vote at midnight and deliver zero votes for Hillary, to the Street Theatre protester who demanded that Hillary "Iron My Shirts" at one of her rallies, these political operatives did their best to give the impression that Barack Obama was unstoppable.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Live Free or Die

Continuing on with the creativity concept, today we are combining a state motto along with an art theme and a coloring activity. If you think there is also some commentary on New Hampshire's primary, you would not be incorrect. Watch the news (especially Drudge) and if you have a little bit of Cook County campaign know-how (and perhaps a vague memory of dirty tricks in your youth), you'll be wishing you had signed up with Barack Obama, no matter what your party. His campaigners are sure having an awful lot of fun, and they are a creative lot! Even some of the Chicago media is buying into some of the events that just seem to be happening spontaneously and point to the inevitability of Obama. Can you believe?

If you have any normal level of political sophistication Cook County style, you know all that exciting, good stuff happening to the candidate of the moment isn't mere coincidence. Grudgingly, I've got to say it: these guys are good.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Polar Bears and Voting Machines

I suppose you thought we might be talking about the animals today, but I read the most stupid group of articles about how conservative people are less creative. I got a little hot under the collar at that one, so decided to prove them wrong, cleverly juxtaposing an animal picture with some frank talk on voting machines. Did Dali ever do this? Well I guess he didn't have a blog.

During this year’s presidential primaries, about one-third of all votes cast votes will be on touch-screen voting machines, and the New York Times has an excellent article on their vagaries.

"Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish."


"THE QUESTION, OF COURSE, is whether the machines should be trusted to record votes accurately. Ed Felten doesn’t think so. Felten is a computer scientist at Princeton University, and he has become famous for analyzing—and criticizing—touch-screen machines. In fact, the first serious critics of the machines—beginning 10 years ago—were computer scientists. One might expect computer scientists to be fans of computer-based vote-counting devices, but it turns out that the more you know about computers, the more likely you are to be terrified that they’re running elections."

Okay, that's enough of a teaser. Go read the article.
Around election time, even the strongest of citizens can become political junkies. If you are interested in election news from any number of states, just click here. (And yes, if you keep getting drawn into those political conversations but want to keep your views to yourself, this is just what you need.)
If you're sick of politics but a polar bear fan, you should explore the website of Norbert Rosing who took the picture of the Polar Bear and the Husky, above.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More Post-Iowa Animal Blogging

I found this gem by Henry Payne at Townhall and wanted to share it. You might be interested in their story that Newt is lending Huckabee a hand.

Friday, January 04, 2008

After Iowa, its Back to the Animals

After Iowa, we are so back to blogging about the animals.

Above is an elk in Estes Park during the rutting season. He was pretty mangy looking, but that's how elks look in the fall. The elk make a terrible noise, click here for the short version of the elk bugling, and here for the longer version. Sometimes they keep you up all night, but I guess that's the joy of travel.

Any similarity with what you heard in Iowa is merely coincidental.

(Analysis of method Democrats use to caucus direct from Iowa, along with a sad, but not touching, story involving a lawn spreader)

O Tempora! O Mores! O Iowa!

O tempora! O mores! O Iowa!

Translated into Chicago-ese, the language of the Senator-in-Absentia's adopted hometown:

"Whudda time, Whudda people, Whudda state."

Organization, Cook County style. Find your voters, turn them out, win.

(The Backyard Conservative blames it on the beleaguered Munchkins)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2009 Scotland Homecoming

Barack Obama, Carol Mosley Braun, and Iowa--a View from Abroad

Dawn broke sunny in the heartland. It's the final day of Iowa's limelight status, and folks, its a horse race if there ever was one. The Backyard Conservative has Gone West for a little live blogging and precinct walking, and Wilmette knows that you want something more compelling than animal pictures.
I'm sure you knew we wouldn't disappoint. We've found New Zealand Libertarian blogger, Trevor Loudon, who has a big interest in Illinois Senators. Whether he's a Hillary plant, or the genuine article, I'm not sure, but his archives go back to November, 2005. With a zeal that would have done a certain politician from one of Illinois' other neighboring states--Wisconsin--proud, he peels away the shiny veneer of the Left.
Loudon is particularly concerned about Presidential Candidate, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. His series of posts, "Why Do the Communists Back Barack," "American (Communist) Idol-Barack Obama and "Why the Communist Party USA May Decide Your Future"--along with his links--give us a somewhat different perspective on our favorite Senator-in-Absentia.

Mr. Loudon is also doing a series on former Illinois Democrat Senator Carol Mosley Braun, who was later appointed by Bill Clinton as Ambassador to New Zealand. Part I is here and Part II is here.

While Mr. Loudon seems to have missed the fact that Cook County moved on from race-based political judgments some time ago, his view of our State and our politicians is quite interesting on this very political of days.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Iowa: Anyone but Obama or Hillary, Please!

"We'll shovel your walk, we'll baby-sit your kids," said Clinton campaign manager Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, on MSNBC.

It's lucky that Iowa is a caucus, because last time I looked shoveling a walk or baby-sitting were both valuable, well-paid jobs. Effectively, Hillary Clinton's campaign is bribing voters to show up to support her in the Iowa caucuses. I don't care for that, do you? It's not like a trip to Tahiti, that's for sure, but I think all we are talking about here is the price. You want a government like this?

And Obama? I would say while he's a good, maybe even a great public speaker, but that's about it. Two years ago today all the government experience Barack had was as a State Senator in Illinois. Doing business in downstate Springfield Cook County Democrat Machine style gives him ZERO experience in principled government. Since he's been missing most of the votes in DC since he started campaigning for President (shortly after being sworn-in as a US Senator), you would have to have to be deaf, dumb and blind to think he's ready to be a chief executive.

But enough for comments from Illinois. We are taking you direct to Iowa via the iowas newz liter blog, for a delightfully entertaining song and comment on Hillary's campaign and on Obama's campaign, too. Hope you enjoy it!

Our blogger pal, the B ackyard Conservative, has driven over to Iowa to give Mitt Romney's campaign a hand. she also has several reports.

Bye-Bye 2007, Jib-Jab Style

Bye-bye 2007, hello 2008!
Jib-Jab reappears and reviews the year:

In 2007
Uploaded by JibJab
h/t Amit (do you read his blog?)