Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Barack Obama: "Sail on, O Ship of State!"

Is that David Axelrod with his hat on in the stern of the boat? I don't know where Barack Obama is, but I am pretty sure that's his grandma and Rev. Wright in the water with their hands up.

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Let's Just Can the Long Needed Talk on Race, or Maybe Let's Just Can Obama

"I can no more disown him [Jeremiah Wright] than I can my own grandmother . . ." -Barack Obama

A few weeks ago when Barack Obama made his speech about race and religion, the MSM couldn't get in line fast enough to applaud its brilliance. "How clever to toss your white grandma under the bus and defend your hate-spewing black minister; this discussion on race is just what is needed!" the op-ed writers said. At the time, I was sure that there are some things just better off left unsaid, and sure enough I was right. Anyone notice the decline in the tenor of our public dialogue lately?

Goofy minister Jeremiah Wright has had his say. Yes, he is outrageous, and clearly he enjoys that, spewing far left wing cant, race-baiting and hatred, and excusing his anti-American tripe as the "black church's way." It's getting bad enough that even some black ministers are worried, lest others start questioning whether the "black church" has anything to do with religion at all. All-in-all, Jeremiah Wright ends up being the poster child for free speech. Has he not failed completely in the marketplace of ideas?

I am not too worried about Jeremiah Wright--I am sure God has his eye on him as does the rest of the country--but Barack Obama? Was he asleep in the pew ever time he went to church? Did he go to church at all? What gives? Barack Obama was mad yesterday. He said his wife was mad. Let's make this perfectly clear. Rev. Wright hasn't suddenly transformed himself from a humble, God-fearing, love-preaching religious servant into the act we have seen this week. Wright has been living large and talking big for a long, long time.

We'll stick to our original view that Obama is the bigger nutcase than Wright. Wright served Obama well, giving him a title for his latest book and allowing Obama look like a serious man who viewed life through pious glasses. Its a real trick to convince others that narcissism is piety, and both Wright and Obama have mastered that.

But if I were Wright, I'd be a little angry myself, After all, Barack Obama used Wright's words to name his book "Audacity of Hope," and I'm sure that its title helped Obama make the money he did from it. But what about Obama? He has spent a lot of time talking about church, but is it all talk? Has he slept through the sermon on a regular basis? Has he gone to his church at all? Jeremiah Wright is not singing any new song, and there is ample evidence of that fact. Is Obama's outrage simply because it turns out what Rev. Wright has to say isn't--surprise!-- playing well in mainstream America?

It's time to throw the MSM under the bus, can that "long-needed talk on race" and return to less analysis rather than more. Or maybe its just time to can Barack Obama.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Obama: Suffering from Pot Roast and Jello

Ever since Barack Obama tried to connect with the ladies of Iowa by commiserating about the high price of Arugula at Whole Foods, I've had my doubts that Barack Obama is a man of the people. That is only a problem because that theme is one that Obama and his wife turn to again and again on the campaign trail. While it took a while for people to pick up on the fact that there is a bit of the snob in both the Obamas, there now has arisen an entire genre of snide comments about the "Snobamas." Yesterday, Obama announced that his campaign needs "fine tuning," and that he would be putting renewed emphasis on his "humble roots."

Why should this matter? Obama, steeped in socialist and far-left values, is a class warrior. Central to his self-image is the suffering he has endured. It was only a week ago that we heard how he had to suffer when he scraped snow off his windshield in Chicago for lack of a heated garage before he bought his mansion. Last night I found out on TV that Barack Obama believes himself to be a man of the people because he ate a lot of pot roast and potatoes as a kid. Oh yes, and jello, too. Of late, Mrs. Obama has been regaling voters about the great hardships of her life, which is beginning to look a lot like baldface lies; if not, then certainly just old fashioned poormouthing. While less spin and more substance might be the answer to the Obama's problems, I don't think that is about to happen.

This whole situation reminds me of that noble family of Milan, the Borreomeo's, whose palaces dot the Piedmont region of Italy. Always prominently displayed is the family coat-of-arms, pictured above, and the family motto, Humilitas, Humility. Somehow, the juxtaposition of the display of vast wealth along with this motto, never ceases to amuse me. While Barack Obama is no Borromeo, there's a lesson here. Sometimes our self-image is grossly at odds with who we really are. Obama's desire to reinvent his earlier life is not only a sad commentary on his class-warfare oriented candidacy, but further evidence that we can expect to see Barack Obama's continuing identity crisis playing itself out for a long time to come.

(Do click on the coat-of-arms above. You can see the motto more clearly, along with the ermine fur, the pearls, and the crown.)

Animals and Earthquakes

Did your animals act strangely before the recent earthquakes? I wish I had been awake to notice. Some people report that animals become agitated before earthquakes, and there is a school of thought that insists that animals can predict earthquakes. One unpublished paper on the Internet has a brief review of animal behavior and earthquake prediction in China, although the National Geographic and Nature both feature articles skeptical about the ability of animals to predict earthquakes . MSNBC reports that some animals run away before earthquakes, and PBS has a round-up of links. There even is a webpage devoted to animal behavior and earthquakes.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blogger-Candidate Tim Stratton Out to Change Illinois

Depending on how you look at it, either a blogger is running for State Rep, or a candidate for State Rep is blogging. Whatever the case may be, Hubbard Woods Resident Tim Stratton, who writes the Change Illinois blog, is the Republican candidate for the Illinois General Assembly from the 58th District Illinois , which is the next district north of Wilmette.

In many countries, bloggers not only meet up, they support each other as if they were members of the same club or part of the family. Since we have "the globalization" now, I thought I'd take a page from their book and give Mr. Stratton a plug. While I can't vote for Tim, maybe you can.

I'll link his blog over in the blogroll to the right to make it easy for you to access his thoughts long after this post disappears down the page.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Midwest Quake - 22 Aftershocks!

Shaken up? We have now had 22 aftershocks following last Friday's Midwest earthquake. As you can tell, the quakes are located entirely in one geographic area.

A listing of the magnitude, time and exact location of the original earthquake and the aftershocks can be found at the United States Geological Survey website

Another Little Earthquake for Ilinois

Geographic coordinates: 38.473N, 87.823W
Magnitude: 4.5 MDepth: 10 kmUniversal Time (UTC): 21 Apr 2008 05:38:30
Time near the Epicenter: 20 Apr 2008 23:38:30
Local standard time in your area: 20 Apr 2008 23:38:30
Location with respect to nearby cities: 8 km (5 miles) NW (324 degrees) of Mount Carmel, IL 12 km (7 miles) WSW (238 degrees) of Allendale, IL 12 km (8 miles) NE (38 degrees) of Bellmont, IL 60 km (37 miles) NNW (337 degrees) of Evansville, IN 211 km (131 miles) E (94 degrees) of St. Louis, MO

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Have You Seen a Cougar in Northern Illinois?

We now know to call 9-1-1 if you spot a cougar, but then what? After you are done telling your family and friends, is anyone else interested in what you saw? No official Illinois agency is collecting the information including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Experts maintain that the cougar population isn't increasing and that any cougars in Northern Illinois are either accidental tourists or escaped pets.

Only a few believe that the cougar has returned to Illinois. Illinois Cougar Watch, available at ( wants your information. They ask you or any person who sees a cougar in Illinois to send an email with details. The address is Illinois Cougar Watch has a collection of anecdotal cougar sightings in Illinois dating back to 1996, sorted by county, so you can read what others have written, as well learning more about cougars and seeing a couple of stunning videos.

If you are interested in learning more about cougar sightings--limited to wild cougars--which have a scientifically rigorous approach, the Cougar Network is worth a visit.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Midwest Earthquake - One Quake, Four Aftershocks

UPDATE: There has been a fifth aftershock, 4.5 intensity, at 15:14:16 UTC which could not be felt in Wilmette.
As of 9:31 AM on April 18, 2008 at the epicenter of the Midwest Earthquake, USGS data shows that there has been one 5.2 magnitude earthquake and four very small aftershocks, all of which are shown on the map above. The grey lines are the fault lines and the white lines are roads. The Illinois basin - Ozark dome area is considered to be an offshoot of the New Madrid fault. Here is a list of the quakes:
2.6 magnitude 2008/04/18 11:55:57 UTC
2.2 magnitude 2008/04/18 10:46:24 UTC
2.4 magnitude 2008/04/18 10:36:33 UTC
2.5 magnitude 2008/04/18 10:03:59 UTC
5.2 magnitude 2008/04/18 09:37:00 UTC

The BBC has an excellent interactive explanation of "How Earthquakes Happen," that will make you sound like an expert in less than 5 minutes of study!

We also have an earthquake report from two early risers in nearby Winnetka. One person was in the shower and felt nothing; the other felt the entire bed shake, and in her sleepy state thought that she was in the middle of a tornado!

WBBM Newsradio 780 online has updated information, live internet radio reports, and comments, and the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times both offer strong coverage .

Did you Feel the Midwest Earthquake?

Did you feel the 5.2 magnitude Midwest Earthquake this morning? It happened at about 4:35 am on April 18, 2008 way downstate at the Illinos-Indiana border. Little if any damage is expected to be found in Wilmette. Due to the rarity of earthquakes in this area, anyone in the Chicago or Wilmette area who was awake when it hit has a story. Reports of the quake are coming from as far north as Toronto and as far south as Alabama. While earthquakes are rare in Chicago, even tall buildings are reported to have swayed during the quake. There was little if any damage.

The USGS intensity map, above, (click on the map and you will be able to read it) is based on over 16,000 responses and will be updated at the USGS website.

If you felt the quake, do help science and report your information at the US Geological Survey for this event at their website.

Earthquake Rocks Midwest

Geographic coordinates: 38.450N, 87.890W
Magnitude: 5.4 Mw
Depth: 11 kmUniversal Time
(UTC): 18 Apr 2008 09:36:59
Time near the Epicenter: 18 Apr 2008 03:36:59
Local standard time in your area: 18 Apr 2008 03:36:59
Location with respect to nearby cities: 7 km (5 miles) NNE (13 degrees) of Bellmont, IL 9 km (6 miles) E (88 degrees) of Bone Gap, IL 11 km (7 miles) N (350 degrees) of Keensburg, IL 60 km (38 miles) NNW (331 degrees) of Evansville, IN 206 km (128 miles) E (95 degrees) of St. Louis, MO

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obama and Clinton: Flopping in Philadelphia

I watched the Democrat debate in Philadelphia last night, and consensus is that Obama didn't do a very good job. If I didn't know better, I'd be saying that he had been taking public speaking lessons from George Bush. Senator Obama first said that he would not raise taxes raises, then told of his plan to raise payroll taxes. Charlie Gibson pointed out that this was a tax increase and Obama seemed puzzled. The whole debate has been reduced to a transcript for those who didn't have a chance to see it.

Other than that, there were two quotes from the debate that captured my imagination.

"Now most firefighters, most teachers, you know, they're not making over $100,000 a year. In fact, only 6 percent of the population does." -Obama

"I am absolutely committed to not raising a single tax on middle class Americans, people making less than $250,000 a year." -Clinton

I'm glad that at our house that we are whipped-in for McCain. We are glad that we don't have to catagorize people by how much money they make or what class they belong to.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Scandal News from Indiana's Obama Campaign

While the Backyard Conservative calls for Barack Obama to change, the campaign that Barack Obama runs, or which runs him--as the case may be--definitely needs change. The Obama campaign continues to behave very badly in nearby Indiana.

The other day we raised the issue of a gift of a Dave Matthews ticket in exchange for ID information at Indiana University. Now there is another brewing scandal for the Obama campaign, and its at Indiana's Purdue University. Blogger ManfromMiddletown details how a graduate from last Summer's Camp Obama (which according to reports was run by the not-too-law-abiding Robert Creamer, the husband of Congresswoman Jan Shakowsky) has not only been using university resources to benefit the Obama campaign, but has also been encouraging Purdue students who have already voted in primaries in their home states to re-register in Indiana and vote again.

At issue is the diversion of Purdue University resources to the Obama campaign. According to the ManfromMiddletown, the trouble began after the teaching assistant (predictably a graduate student in the Political Science Department) "began to brazenly misuse university resources in order to benefit the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama." In 2007, this teaching assistant "applied and was accepted for an internship in college organizing by the Obama campaign . . . [u]sing training and advice from the Obama campaign . . . spent so much of his time working in the [Political Science] department on campaign work, that computer #5 in Beering 2208 became known as 'the Obama campaign's" seat in the laboratory by other graduate students. ' "

Despite official warnings from the University, apparently these activities have continued until the present. The blogger alleges that "I firmly believe given the fact available to me that the Obama campaign is a calculating participant in this affair." These are troubling and exceedingly serious allegations which you ought to read in their entirety. While the post originally appeared April 9, if you scroll down, the post has been updated to April 13. You also might be interested in reading the comments, some posted by jeering Obama partisans that show an utterly callous disregard for the law as it regards the prohibition against campaigning by tax-exempt institutions, others which excoriate the blogger (a Daily Kos Democrat) for bringing this story to light.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Has Lake County's Cougar Moved to Wilmette?

UPDATE: The Channel 5 Chicago News reported at about 5:25 pm on April 14, 2007 that the Chicago Police have shot and killed a cougar on the North Side. The Chicago Tribune has the story, with a photo.

Wilmette Police are reporting that this morning, April 12, 2008, they received information from four different citizens of Wilmette who believe that they saw a cougar near the El at Fourth and Linden. All the reports were in the 300 block of Third Street. Police officers investigated, but were unable to find the animal. Wilmette Police are asking residents to call 911 immediately if they believe that they see a cougar.

If you think you see the cougar do not approach it; cougars are dangerous! If you are inside, try to take a picture of it out the window so that the animal can be identified. Do not send the dog out to investigate, and keep your children and all your pets indoors. It should be noted that many other animals can be confused with cougars, and it is possible that what was sighted was a fox or a coyote, which are known to be in the general area.

It was just about two weeks ago that we reported on the Lake County cougar sightings. As a follow up, police have been unable to find any actual evidence that there is a cougar in the Lake County area.

When I did the original post on Cougars in Lake county, I found some very good information online on cougars, also known as mountain lions, and I am repeating those links here, although they apply to a more rural area than Wilmette. You might want to review this fact sheet from the United States Department of Agriculture (pdf format) for tips on living with cougars. In addition, there are several potentially livesaving tips for you, your family and your pets which you can read by clicking here. What to do if you encounter the cougar? Read this or this to be prepared. While the webpage features an annoying growl, this page on cougar do's and don'ts might be helpful.

Statistics show that a person is ten times more likely to be killed by a dog than a mountain lion, but you may want to read further about mountain lion attacks, including anecdotal evidence from 1890 to the present. Just last month a sighting of a cougar was confirmed in Wisconsin, which had been cougar-free for the last century.

While I am hoping that the animal that was spotted beats a hasty retreat, I would note that the large and healty rabbit population here in Wilmette could bring a variety of animals into the area, although cougars are particularly attracted to deer. If you live in Wilmette and think you have seen the cougar, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: CBS 2 Chicago has video of Wilmette residents describing the cougar!

Friday, April 11, 2008

China and the Olympics: Don't Rise to the Bait!

The Olympic Torch has passed through San Francisco, despite attempts to extinguish it, and I am glad it finished its North American journey safely. No one was interested in talking about the Olympics in December of 2006, when I raised the issue of freedom of speech for reporters in China for the Olympics. That was the time to pursue a dialogue about some very troubling developments, but no one cared. Suddenly, nearly a year and a half later, my inbox is full of mail about the Olympics and China. There is no shortage of viewpoint or advocacy. Most writers make their point--and well--and there is great diversity of opinion. For my nickel, the time for debate on China’s hosting of the Olympics has long passed. It is not exactly like the news that China is hosting the Olympics is a surprise.

The games themselves have their own separate governance, theoretically separate from national governments. Underlying it all is the idealistic Olympian concept of putting politics aside, and having a "truce" for the sake of citizens from all over the world coming together for the games. When global travel was a rarity, it was also thought that the mere experience of citizens of one country meeting citizens of another country in an atmosphere of friendship would have a salutary effect on the cause of peace between nations. President Eisenhower himself--no stranger to war, politics, or international relations--was a great advocate of people-to-people friendship efforts.

There are severe problems with human rights in China. This is nothing new, and while troubling and continuing, their existence is no surprise either. It seems to me to be a very short-sighted response to suddenly douse the Olympic flame, raise the continuing issue of Tibet to fever pitch, and attempt to inject acrimony between nations where none existed before. When you think about it, this is a clear case of “Let’s you and him fight.” The real question is: "Whose interest does this serve?" Political divisiveness is easy to create, aggravate, and amplify. Let’s not go for the bait.

I took the picture, above, in San Francisco's Chinatown about a year ago. While I didn't take the time to get a good picture, I really like the message.

Wilmette's Green Initiative
President Canning Gets it Right

We have been banging the drum over here at Wilmette for a good long time on behalf of green initiatives, but I would like to make it perfectly clear that these initiatives should be adopted by responsible citizens as habits of thrift and economy, not imposed by government fiat. For this reason, I was delighted to read that Wilmette Village President and lifelong Wilmette resident, Christopher Canning, who previously voted against forming an Environmental Commission for the Village, is now joined by several Wilmette Village Trustees in questioning the necessity of such a commission.

Big Government advocate, Lali Watt, who seems to never miss a chance to to impose her viewpoints on the good citizens of the Village of Wilmette via Village law, can't wait to adopt whatever a lobbying group called Go Green proposes. This "Go Green" group is misguided. While it spends its efforts on lobbying, it would be far better for the group to spend its time and money on educating the residents of this village.

I would note that the latest marketing trend for many companies is to have governments mandate the use of products which only certain companies make or sell. For this reason, the Go Green group is suspect. If the people who are behind Go Green are serious about green initiatives, they should stop seeking government solutions and appeal to the good common sense of the average citizen of Wilmette.

h/t: the usually thrifty Backyard Conservative, who might be tempted to turn off that car engine if she is reminded that this tactic was first proposed by Shell Oil Company in Gas Crisis I.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Flocke Greets her Fans at Nuremberg's Zoo

Flocke, the modern Polar Bear with her own webpage, is now four months old. Yesterday, she took a trip outside to visit well-wishers gathered for the occasion at the Tiergarten, Nuremberg's Zoo. You can see a video (#108) of her first trip outside by clicking here, and also catch her taking a swim. Once you see her latest photos, you will definately be thinking about planning a visit!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Boycott Absolut

Above is a picture of Absolute Vodka's latest ad campaign in Mexico. I am not sure why it is in English. According to Favio Ucedo, creative director of leading Latino advertising agency Grupo Gallegos in the U.S., “Mexicans talk about how the Americans stole their land, so this is their way of reclaiming it. It’s very relevant and the Mexicans will love the idea.”

I imagine they will.

Boycott Absolut--friends don't let friends drink it. If you have some in your home, do host a spur of the moment party this weekend to get it out of your cupboards and to spread the word!

Update: If you're doing any spring cleaning, you might as well get rid of these other libations from parent company Pernod Ricard.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New Blogger Questions Obama's Tax Policy, Views on Education

The other day I found an email in my inbox from David E, a reader in New Jersey who has a great interest in Barack Obama's tax policy and the calculations on Obama's house's tax bill. While I have not followed the specifics of Sen. Obama's proposals, he has, and he's worried.

Since David had clearly spent a great deal of time on what he wrote, and basically had already written a blog post in his letter to me, I suggested that he simply start a blog. He did, and you might like to go see it for a new and different view. Two items are notable. First, his analysis of Obama Tax Policy, and second, a very different view on education. Specifically, David writes
For the first four years of my schooling, I went to school with a lot
of black children. So I have four more years of going to school with black
children and studying black history than you do. Was I disadvantaged because of
this? Not in the least. You went to some fancy private school for wealthy white
kids and now you look down your nose at the rest of us.

Interesting, no? Do go visit David E's Look and welcome David as a new blogger willing to add his thoughts to the marketplace of ideas.

Dan Seals, Northwestern University, and "Professor-Gate"

Back in January, the Daily Herald asked serious questions about the ethics of Illinois' 10th District Congressional candidate, Dan Seals. Seals was representing himself as a Northwestern University professor when the truth was that he was hired as a lecturer for a one-night-per-week class for the upcoming spring quarter in the School of Continuing Studies. When confronted, Seals cavalierly said that was because he didn't know the difference between a professor and an instructor (despite master's level education), but failed to revise his literature. Seals, who lives in the Congressional district in which Northwestern in located but not in the district in which he is running, and who appears to have no civic or religious ties to the community which he seeks to represent, is a newcomer to the North Shore area. For these reasons, it is likely that at the time "Professor-gate" first emerged, he was unaware of the deep emotions that locals feel when the topic of Northwestern University is raised. Many of Seals potential voters are either alumni of the University, or closely tied through family or friendship to people who are.

Dan Seals has now taught his first class of the spring semester for which he was hired, making the timing of his announcement that he was actually working at Northwestern moot. However, reports are emerging that guards were posted at the door of the classroom, which is not a usual University practice. (It is not known whether they were armed.) It is further reported that Seals presented no syllabus, no reading list and let the class go early. Alumni and students are now concerned that Northwestern hired Seals either to help him pad his resume, or to financially help a candidate with very little real-world experience who has made running for office his primary job for over three years.

Local bloggers have been covering the story for several months. As Seals' campaign has been unable to raise sufficient funds for his campaign within the district, his race has been involved in several online efforts to fill his coffers. It is possibly for this reason that a Democrat "ready response" team has begun a series of ad-hominem attacks against those who have questioned the appropriateness of Northwestern's hire. In doing so, they are attempting to raise what has been an issue of strictly local interest to a level of importance that it never had.

This is a story worth keeping your eye on. It is unlikely, given the strong historic ties in the area to Northwestern, that this issue will go away any time soon. In the words of one tenth district resident, "As an NU alum, my check book is permanently closed."

Note: The author is not a Northwestern alumna, but has family and close friends with Northwestern degrees.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Obama Offers Free Concert Tickets to Voters, What?

The Obama campaign has a big register-to-vote intiative in Indiana, and it looks as if Indiana University students will be able to learn some political science in the process. Free tickets are being given out for a Dave Matthews concert at IU, provided that positive identification of proof of ability to be able to vote in Indiana is presented to the campaign. What a clever idea! Some people would call that vote buying, but who's to say that it won't work? We would note, however, that there's not much change involved. Vote buying is an old Chicago trick, and widely studied in political science classes. Of couse, there's a bit of a problem here--Obama's campaign might be viewed by some as inducing a person to vote for a candidate by giving them the ticket, a Class D Felony. But who will complain? The people accepting the free tickets, might be commiting a felony themselves.

IC 3-14-3-19
Inducing votes by gift or offer to compensate
Sec. 19. A person who, for the purpose of inducing or procuring another person to:
(1) apply for or cast an absentee ballot; or
(2) vote or refrain from voting for or against a candidate or for or against a public question at an election or political convention; gives, offers, or promises to any person any money or other property commits a Class D felony.

IC 3-14-3-20
Acceptance or solicitation of compensation to induce or procure votes
Sec. 20. A person who, for the purpose of inducing or procuring
a voter to:
(1) apply for or cast an absentee ballot; or
(2) vote or refrain from voting for or against a candidate or for or against a public question at an election or political convention; receives, accepts, requests, or solicits from any person any money or other property commits a Class D felony.

Gas Goes Up and Up

We have been a little too serious lately. While the gas prices at the left may be serious, at least it's funny--I think.

Now is a good time to start asking why we don't have large, easy access parking lots to make a fast switch from car to public transportation when we go downtown. For years, I've been patiently waiting for one on the Kennedy. Would this be so hard?

Coulter Says Obama is the Problem, not Rev. Wright

If Lenny Bruce were to come back as a Republican woman, his name would be Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter is the baddest of the bad girls, and has a mouth that her mom forgot to wash out with soap. Sometimes Ann Coulter can be wickedly funny, however, and when she takes on the issue of Barack Obama and his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, she is dead on point. "Forget Rev. Jeremiah Wright", she says. " Wright is Booker T. Washington compared to" Obama. It's Obama, not Wright, who Coulter finds to be "stark bonkersville," based on the views Obama espouses in his book, Dreams from My Father. Coulter asks, "Has anybody read this book? Inasmuch as the book reveals Obama to be a flabbergasting lunatic, I gather the answer is no."

While pundits characterized Obama's Speech on Religion (and Race) as "courageous," "needed," etc., I couldn't help but think that no one has played the race card to this extent in an to attempt to gain advantage in a Presidential campaign since David Duke, the hateful Louisiana racist who ran in 1988. While there is no way that Barack Obama or his views can be compared to David Duke, I've been listening to Obama's speeches. From day to day, Obama moves from his accentless Hawaiian English, to an accent that seems to speak of a childhood somewhere near Atlanta, and back again, I can't quite decide whether Obama is just involved in a perpetual identity crisis or whether he's just a genuine nutter. Ann Coulter suggests the latter, and says that America needs to read Obama's book. (And not a bad time to do just that. At Amazon, the price has now decined to nearly half of its issue price.)

As for me, I'm done with the troubling questions that arose in my mind after Obama's speech. Since then, I've had the opportunity to run into all those nice people in my life who look like more like Barack than me, and I am pretty sure that they aren't carefully concealing some hidden hatred of me based on my race. I'm sticking to the viewpoint that here in Chicago, we moved beyond race some time ago. If you examine your own life, and the people who you interact with on a daily basis, you'll realize that's the truth.

It would take a great deal more than a few loose words from Barack Obama to change the great strides made by all the people of Chicago over the past fourty years. It's become crystal clear that good race relations are now the rule rather than the exception, and that should be a source of great civic pride for all of us.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Obama's Bad Bowling

I am pretty sure that America cannot allow a person who can only bowl a 37 to become President. Barack Obama did just that in Pennsylvania, and managed to joke about it, no less. CBS Sports writer Clay Travis suggests that Obama's score was so bad, that it was akin to starting the Tour de France with training wheels, or driving the Indy 500 without ever shifting out of first gear, or even worse, showing up for a football game in the state of Alabama carrying a soccer ball. Sadly enough, there is video. Better read the whole story.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Two Tech Finds Promise Exciting Future

We usually leave tech reports to those in the know, but two great tech stories out today really warrant your attention.

First is an email tool, "Custom Time," that allows you to backdate limited emails sent to others, for when it absolutely, positively has to be there yesterday (or last year). Available--so far--only at Gmail.

The second tech find builds on a theme that has grown ever more popular over the years--space travel! From an early look, it appears that potentially thousands of internet users will be working on this, so if leaving earth doesn't appeal to you, you still can be part of this exciting effort by working in a support function online. While these out-of-this-world experiences have usually been limited to the super wealthy, a prize is offered as a reward to early entrants. You will, however, have to fill out a questionnaire.

Dancing with the Seals

With candidate Dan mostly off the radar since the primary, we've not been doing much Seal watching. Mostly Dan has gone missing. While we figured he's been in DC learning candidate sorts-of-things, or maybe on-the-road learning organization in Barack's campaign, or possibly working with Bob Creamer in that charity organizing at which he excelled prior to his recent incarceration and of which there is evidence that is resurfacing, but no! We have found the seal in a good progressive place, Russia, working at an entirely new profession!