Tuesday, September 30, 2008

After the People's Bailout Victory it's Time to Sing

It's been a very tiring week as far as the news goes, and its only Tuesday. It's probably time to take a little time out to enjoy a simple diversion such as singing. El Rider found an interesting tune sung by a group of children, that Drudge linked to today and was headlined as a song for "Dear Leader," Barack Obama. "Dear Leader" is, of course, the official title given to Kim Jong Il around the time the North Korean government began building a personality cult patterned after that of his father, the "Great Leader".

We have a song to offer about Barack Obama, too, one that we just found. We are dedicating it to the Obama truth squad members who seem to show up here lately on a regular basis to say something insulting in the comments. While I can't understand the point of that as I would think they would want to win me to their side, I hope they enjoy this song which is the exact tune as the old national anthem of the USSR. I hope everybody enjoys it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Opening the Debates: Ralph Nader and Obama Girl Show

Did you think I'd have some wisdom on last Friday's debate between John McCain and Barack Obama? Please. What wisdom is to be had when the debates have become just one more opportunity to repeat campaign talking points? While I might have neglected to mention it, I am for opening the debates and including the principled progressive, Ralph Nader. Here's a video about that--The Ralph Nader and Obama Girl Show--that I think you will enjoy!

Slapping the Invisible Hand: Financial Crisis and Government Bailout

Need a fast analysis of the current market crisis--which might not be a crisis at all--and government bailout? You might like to read this superb article on government intervention in the financial markets written by Joseph Calhoun, a chief investment officer for a investment company. One important point:

If this bailout goes ahead in its current form and the Treasury pays a high enough price to recapitalize the troubled banks, what has been accomplished? The plan may be enough to induce the banking sector to start lending again, although frankly, I don’t know why we would want institutions who have shown such poor judgment in the past to stay in that business. This plan short circuits the capitalist model which would allow the stronger, well-run institutions to gain market share and/or expand profit margins. The long-term effect will be to lower the overall return on capital in the financial services industry. The government apparently believes that the key to economic recovery is to allocate limited resources in an inefficient manner. Does that make sense?

The same author wrote another article last week with a historical backgrounder of what brought this crisis to a head, including a brief but insightful analysis of the effects of the "mark to market" accounting rule.

The "mark to market rule" (FASB 157) impacts balance sheets in an artificially negative way. It requires that certain assets have to be valued at the price you could get for them if you sold them right now on the open market. Sometimes, there is no market—not for toxic investments like collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, filled with subprime mortgages. If there is no market, FAS 157 says, a bank must mark the investment’s value down, possibly all the way to zero. Wikipedia has an excellent explanation.

Economists Question Government Bailout Plan

A large number of highly regarded economists wrote a letter to Congress last week expressing great concern for the bailout proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson. Specifically, they question the fairness, the ambiguity, and the long term effects of such a plan. Do read the letter, which is very short and easy to understand and includes the names of the economists.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wilmette Salutes Missouri's Governor, Matt Blunt

Wilmette salutes free speech advocate, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt , who today announced that he has no patience with Missouri law enforcement officials who publicly announced a plan this week which could intimidate certain citizens of Missouri, stifle free debate, and substantially interfere with individual Civil Rights,

In an amazing development, a number of publicly elected law enforcement officials in Missouri banded together to form a "truth squad" for the political candidate of their choosing, using the power of their office to make their announcement. The purpose would be to target individuals or corporations who spoke ill of their preferred candidate, who himself made a request that these officials give him a hand.

Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 prohibits public officials from depriving a person of their Constitutional Rights. While the statute doesn't give any new rights, it does give a person whose rights were violated the right to sue the appropriate governmental body. A textbook case would be a sheriff or states attorney who interfered with your freedom of speech.

Of course, this development could put Missouri in the position of having to pay money to injured citizens if the public officials attempted to interfere with their First Amendment rights. Long time readers know that free speech is a favorite topic of this blog, and we are grateful that Gov. Blunt has made his position clear to those who cherish and use their right to express themselves and their political beliefs.

The most amazing part of this story is that the candidate seeking  formation of the "truth squad" was no one other than Illinois' own Barack Obama who actually taught Constitutional law for many years. Is it any surprise that he has voluntarily relinquished his Illinois law license?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meltdown of WaMu: US Government's Troubling Thursday Night Grab

No one questions that the federal government can and should take over and repackage failing banks, but last night's seizure of Washington Mutual's raises questions that are troubling at best. The ailing thrift, whose days everyone knew were numbered, (is) (was) headed by a CEO Alan Fishman who was specifically brought in to sell the company. While the top tier of buyers had looked at WaMu's books and decided to take a pass, there was evidence that a sale to a private equity buyer was in the offing, and talks were ongoing. Several banks were interested in expanding their businesses through WaMu's extensive network of branches.

Two weeks ago, WaMu announced that it was taking writedowns in the third quarter, and that it had sufficient capital to return to profitability. While WaMu continued to look for a buyer, the company also said that it expected its capital ratios at quarter-end to remain significantly above the levels for well-capitalized institutions.

Last night, after the market closing, it was announced that a deal for a sale had been made with JP Morgan and that there would be a conference call at 9:15 EDT with the details. At first it was unclear what had happened. No news was forthcoming from WaMu, as WaMu's deal team, including Mr. Fishman, had boarded a plane in New York to fly to WaMu's main offices in Seattle. While Mr. Fishman and his party were in midair, the FDIC seized the bank on the pretext that a credit downgrade late in the day by Standard and Poors had sounded WaMu's death knell, giving no notice to Mr. Fishman or to WaMu's Board of Directors.

By the time 9:15 arrived JP Morgan's phone lines were so jammed that it was impossible to tap into the conference call, and JP Morgan's website went down under the strain of traffic. In the space of 2-3 hours, in what may be remembered as the fastest deal in history, the Office of Thrift Supervision seized the bank and turned it over to the FDIC as receiver which promptly sold all the assets through a bidding process, with JP Morgan declared the winner. Shortly after the conference call was ended, JP Morgan issued a press release crowing about the fabulous deal they had made. The truth then emerged that JP Morgan bought and what the US Government sold was the assets of WaMu, and not the company. JP Morgan had offered $8.00/share earlier in the year in a stock deal, and last night's action cost them only half as much with little change in WaMu's balance sheet in the interim.

In the meantime, WaMu stock traded yesterday between a high of $2.34 and $1.60, prices which reflected the highly speculative nature of the security but did not take into account imminent federal seizure. There is talk that the S&P downgrade was a prediction of worth if the company was broken up and sold. The vast majority of WaMu Shareholders were institutions, but plenty of small speculators were also caught by surprise by the lightning fast government deal. Today, WaMu stock has been selling at about 16 cents per share and trading will be halted.

Unpredictable action on the part of the government cannot restore faith in America's markets. Theoretically, this is the goal of the sudden interest on the part of the government to involve itself after years of neglect and ongoing capital liquidity problems. The way that the government seized and sold the assets of Washington Mutual is almost a textbook example in how to destroy confidence in the marketplace. Generally speaking, the Office of Thrift Supervision telegraphs its impending takeover in a way that the markets can process this information in an orderly manner. Generally speaking, this is done over a weekend and isn't a surprise.

It took ten days in October of 1917 for Russian revolutionaries to seize their government following years of unrest under Czarist rule. The October Revolution was not the first action by the Bolsheviks nor was it unexpected. In 2007, with unchecked and unaccountable government power, that time frame can be reduced to less than overnight.

UPDATE: The September 29, 2008 Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how JP Morgan raised 1..5 billion in 24 hours.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's Up on Wall Street?

What is happening on Wall Street? Is there a plan to make the world safe for the rich men and women at Goldman Sachs? I listened to President Bush's speech last night and the best I can figure is that a $700 billion taxpayer funded bailout is needed so that Americans can continue to borrow money to buy cars, houses, and educations they can't afford. Am I missing something? By this morning, it appears that it might be best to simply go back to bed. Ben Bernanke says the economy is "barely limping along" and could "buckle." In New York, "tension is growing." The goal is to remove "toxic assets."Are we all novelists now? Is there anyone out there who could quantify this for me?

If America, as we know it, is over, should we emigrate? If so, where? As one wag around the house put it, "If we're going to be socialists we ought to go somewhere that does it well . . ."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin: Character Assassination via E-mail

I got a couple more anti-Palin e-mails today, after not receiving any for over a week. They are different from the Bryn Mawr letter that I received and wrote about over two weeks ago. Both e-mails were different, both from serious types who are genuinely concerned about the future of America, both politically naive. I would not want to point out to these people that they are the willing dupes of a media campaign for Barack Obama because that would be unkind. They genuinely believe they are doing the right thing.

Today, at least two major league bloggers are writing about "astrotufing" campaigns aimed against Sarah Palin. Two articles stand out: the longer article is here, and the shorter one here. "Astroturfing" is the PR term used when the grass in grassroots is artificial, having actually been manufactured by a PR firm. It is is not considered to be very ethical. David Axelrod, Barack Obama's chief media strategist was named as the master of astroturfing last March by Business Week, and many people believe he may be part of this.

This is a very ugly campaign against Sarah Palin. Do stand opposed to such political tactics no matter what your politics. The differences between the candidates are clear, there are real issues out there, and scurrilous email forwards are not necessary.

Race and Voting Preferences

Think about the white people you know for a minute. Are they friendly? Determined? Law abiding? Hard working? Do you think they are intelligent at school and smart at everyday things? Do you find them good neighbors and dependable? Or do you find white people violent, boastful, and complaining? Are the white people you know lazy? Are they irresponsible?

Oh, readers, you are too smart to fall for this one! By the time you got to characterization three or four, you probably said "Wait a minute!" How could I possibly characterize all the white people I know into a lump and generalize about them?" What kind of hooey is that anyway?

AP-Yahoo news actually put these questions to Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters. They didn't ask the question about white people, though, they asked them about black people. No matter. The idea that a theoretically responsible news organization would be asking such stupid race-based questions is amazing. Even more amazing is that people answered these questions without laughing at the pollster. If someone were to ask me whether both these pollsters and their respondents are idiots, the answer would be "Yes!" in both cases.

The goal of the pollsters was ostensibly to figure out why Barack Obama is not the overwhelming favorite in this election. Their attempt to find some racial reason is regrettable. One insight from the poll: Republicans won't be voting against Barack Obama because of his race; they won't be voting for him because he's a Democrat. Brilliant.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seals TV Message: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

The only change that Dan Seals, Congressional Candidate from Illinois 10th District, is going to take to Washington is the message how good life can be when you are a corrupt Illinois politician. In a state that seems to now be routinely sending its Governors to prison for their honesty and fair dealing, Dan Seas will bring genuine corruption know how to Washington. Compared to honest Congressman, Mark Kirk, that will definately be a change.

Guess it makes sense when Seals chooses Bob Creamer to train his staff (two felonies), Terry Link to organize his campaign (campaign indicted), Lauren Beth Gash to organize outside support (two huge FEC fines) and more. Dan even watched Tammy Duckworth break the Illinois ban on using state cars for campaigning at his own event.


Palin: Democrats Continue Sexism
Shame on You, Charlie Rangel!

If you happen to see any of those Dan Seals ads on TV this weekend, please remember that they were (at least partially) brought to you by a man who believes in keeping the glass ceiling intact. Dan Seals' backer, fundraising partner, and major donor to Seals' Congressional Campaign, Congressman Charlie Rangel, referred to Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "disabled," and it's clear that this was no mere thoughtless slip. TA over at the Team America blog has a nice article with details.

I am amazed that Rangel, who is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, is not only so politically incorrect but that he has also willingly become the poster child for the proposition that racism is dead while sexism lives on.

Last week, Rep. Rangel was named as one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and is currently under a cloud for suspected tax evasion.

On Tuesday, Mark Begich, a Democrat running for the U. S. Senate from Alaska, announced that he was divesting himself of a $10,000 campaign contribution from Rep. Rangel, noting that "We agree with the McCain/Palin campaign that it's important to keep a watchful eye on who donates to your campaign."

Sexist remarks, and remarks that make light of the truly disabled, especially when then come from the Halls of Congress, are a source of the gravest concern. We hope that Candidate Seals--who doesn't live in the district in which he is running and lacks ties to the community which he seeks to serve--will divest himself immediately of these tainted contributions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Government Bailout: Will We Be Toasting Marshmallows Over Dollar Bills?

While the markets opened this morning in a cheerful mood, that can't hide the fact that long term government deficits lead to inflation and long term uncontrolled deficits lead to uncontrolled inflation. If, and it's a pretty big if, the value of AIG's assets can be maximized, perhaps we can avoid the situation, pictured above, where Germans found it cheaper in the 1920's to use paper money instead of wood to heat their kitchen stoves.

The kind of money that is being discussed in the wake of the AIG bailout is almost too large to comprehend. It can't be recouped by a mere tax hike. The economy will have to grow stubstantially, or I am pretty sure we all will be toasting marshmallows over bonfires of dollar bills.

The early morning recovery in today's markets shook Barack Obama so much that he put his big economic plan on hold. That's a good thing, because if you read the news articles, you know that Barack Obama's remarks make it seem that he has already appointed himself President. Acting as if you are the President doesn't make you one. Obama's lack of humility is profound, and his demeanor troubling.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Racism, Sexism and Barack Obama

"I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face . . . You are my ambassadors. You guys are the ones who can make the case." - Barack Obama

"It's like a witch hunt with her [Gov. Palin]. In the old days they would have burned her already." - One of our younger family members.

In a day where racism is largely gone from the US, sexism is not. Since a day or two after Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen as John McCain's running mate, the followers of Barack Obama have been trashing her in every way possible. From lipstick choice to clothing choice to shoe choice, from the size of her family to the religion and guns to which she stubbornly clings, nothing is off limits--including hacking her email--when it comes to trashing Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin. Barack Obama himself is leading the charge (see above) while carefully pretending to be above it all, a method he employed in his Illinois race for the US Senate. It is a politics with one measure of whining one measure of outrage, and one measure of pure jack-booted thuggery.

Will this be the vision of America that Americans choose this fall? The America that Obama supporters such as domestic terrorist Bill Ayres ("well respected in his community") sees? The America that doesn't make Michelle Obama proud? I hope not.

Obama Supporters: Is Anti-Woman the New Racism?

Have any of you noticed the pleasure with which Obama supporters and sympathizers have taken out after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin? These aren't ordinary citizens with a viewpoint; they are skilled political operatives who have embarked on a campaign to harass, belittle, marginalize and ridicule a woman who they don't like. It is as if ABC's Charlie Gibson, who conducted his lip pursing, sneering interview of Gov. Palin peering over his glasses and down his nose at the object of disgust, sent a message that creating a hostile environment for her campaign is the right thing to do. His fellow Democrats jumped in with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing a rabbit. In the name of pushing Barack Obama back into the number one spot, open season has been declared on the Vice-president nominee. Nothing is off limits. What is worse, is that Barack Obama is either standing idly by or encouraging his people to engage in this filthy behavior. This is leadership? This is change?

Something is very, very wrong indeed when an honorable governor, who is also a women, is treated in such a manner. Every decent American needs to speak out against this bullying. Anti-woman sentiment is ugly. It needs to be stopped.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Contemplating the "Nationalization" of AIG

September 16, 2008

Dear U.S. Government:

I have some recent losses in the market. They are not "real losses," because I didn't sell anything yet. Please send me the proper form so I can sell them to you for what I paid for them. Actually, I would prefer a little more than that because I generally like to make a profit. Also, I will need some extra money to even me up because I am pretty sure all those dollars you are printing will make me poorer and substantially erode my savings. Could you also index that for inflation? I would prefer a check at the first of every year.

Also, I would like a large salary.

I promise if I make any more money I will send you taxes, and will also pay taxes on the large salary you will send me.

Love and Kisses,


P.S. I didn't borrow any money that would have led to this financial meltdown. Could you please consider a bonus because I didn't get to enjoy a fancy car or house?

P. P. S. Are we all communists now?

P.P.P.S. This is kind of old., but I thought you might like to make some copies and pass them around.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Supporting Sarah Palin: "Gender Trumps Everything Else"

Dr. Lynette Long, feminist mom who works as a psychologist in Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in the Presidential primary. As a a political activist and the author of 20 books, Dr. Long is not only supporting Sarah Palin, she is urging feminists and other Democrats to support her also. Today, she writes in her Baltimore Sun op-ed,

"Children incorporate many of their perceptions about gender by age 5. Little girls won't understand if Sarah Palin is pro-life or pro-choice, believes in gun control or is a member of the NRA, but they will know the vice president of the United States is a girl - and that alone will alter their perceptions of themselves. . . .

"Right now, for me, gender trumps everything else. If Democratic women wait for the perfect woman to come along, we will never elect a woman. I will vote for McCain-Palin. I urge other women to do the same. I promise to be the first person knocking on her door if Roe v. Wade or any other legislation that goes against the rights of women is threatened. But in Governor Palin, I find a woman of integrity, who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. I can work with that. I will work with that."

After Hillary Clinton lost her party's primary, Dr. Long entered into a series of discussions with Sen. Obama's campaign about gender parity in an Obama cabinet. They weren't interested. Do Dr. Long's article and visit her website for a very interesting viewpoint about the Democrats, John McCain and the importance of involving more women in government.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

From Sweden: John McCain's Newly Discovered POW Release Video

With news today that Barack Obama has yet again played the age card, perhaps it might be best if Barack Obama stopped calling John McCain old. As you can see, from this just-discovered video from Sweden showing McCain's release as a Vietnamese POW in 1973, John McCain was old at the age of 37. Five and a half years of captivity can do that to a person. It is really horrible to think that Obama, whose supporters include the old 60's and 70's radical anti-war crowd, is following the old tradition of his radical supporters, which included spitting on servicemen returning from Vietnam.

At the time that this video was taken, Barack Obama was a 7th grader at a fancy private school in Hawaii. While Obama likely was too young at the time to remember the horror stories of returning servicemen in those days, many of us cannot forget. Rather than the agent of change, Barack Obama is talking like a loser. Reopening the wounds of Vietnam is not just ill-advised, it is evil. I cannot think of a better way to energize the Republican base than to pick on John McCain's infirmities from war service. Barack Obama has led a charmed life, and he ought to count his blessings.

One Stop Website for Hurricane Ike Information

If you have friends or family impacted by Hurricane Ike, or if you are affected but in a safe location, you are probably looking for as much information about Ike as fast as possible. World Wide Help Team member, NPR's Andy Carvin, has put together a one-stop website for Hurricane Ike which should be one of your first stops. Just go to http://www.hurricanes08.org/ .

A hurricane warning remains in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Baffin Bay, Texas and tropical storm warnings are in effect for the southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, including the city of New Orleans. Weather.com has a great deal of information, and there is a great deal of storm related information on Hurricane Ike at the National Hurricane Center.

There are numerous reports of "all circuits are busy" responses to telephone calls. We would remind our readers that when you can't get through on the telephone, sending text messages via cell phone is one of the best ways of keeping in touch; only abrief moment of connnectivity is required for this form of communication to work.

Will Barack Obama Lose?

Is the press starting to write the story of how Barack Obama lost? Consider this article, written by Gerard Baker in today's The Times (London).

"There is a yawning gulf between what the Democratic candidate says and how he has acted. That's why the race is so close," writes Baker.

"The essential problem coming to light is a profound disconnect between the Barack Obama of the candidate's speeches, and the Barack Obama who has actually been in politics for the past decade or so. . . .Politician Obama has toed his party's line more reliably than almost any other Democrat in US politics. He has a near-perfect record of voting with his side. He has the most solidly left-wing voting history in the Senate. His one act of bipartisanship, a transparency bill co-sponsored with a Republican senator, was backed by everybody on both sides of the aisle. He has never challenged his party's line on any issue of substance."
Closer to home, Charles Krauthammer traces the rise and fall of Barack Obama through five key speeches: the Democratic Convention in 2004; the speech after the Iowa primary; the slowing oceans and healing planet speech on the night of the last primary; the speech in Berlin; and the speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention. In a nutshell, his analysis is that Obma was and is all style and no substance, and in the celebrity game "One star fades, another is born. . . .McCain picks Sarah Palin and a new celebrity is launched. And in the celebrity game, novelty is trump."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain
September 11, 2008

Today, September 11, 2008, seven years after the attacks, we are prompted to remember that we are Americans first and only after that are we members of a political party. In a rare moment, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are pictured together at Ground Zero, New York City, at a commemoration ceremony.

Remembering the Victims of 9/11

9/11 Patriot Day - God Bless the USA

Seven years after 9/11, Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, is pictured on the campaign trail with her large flag pin which reads "A Grateful America."
Today I am grateful for all Americans who showed up in New York City to help in the harrowing days after the terrorist attacks, and in particular the volunteers who lined up in droves to lend their hands to clear rubble at the World Trade Center.
God Bless the USA.
The photo is from a Time photo essay on of Sarah Palin campaigning.

Reflections on 9/11

" Eight days after terrorism declared war on America, a young state senator blamed it on 'a failure of empathy'" — yet another reason why Barack Obama should never be commander in chief." from an IBD editorial appearing on 9/11

2996 - Remembering Michael Grady Jacobs, Tower Two

It is seven years since 9/11/2001. Michael Grady Jacobs would be 60 years old now if had had not been killed at the World Trade Center. Perhaps enough time has passed that that his friends and family are beginning to heal from their loss when his life was so extinguished on that fateful September morning. Below is my tribute to Mr. Grady, done as part of the original 2996 project.

* * * * * * *
The world is a poorer place for the loss of Michael Grady Jacobs. This 54 year old resident of Danbury, Connecticut was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. As a vice-president of Fiduciary Trust, his office was on the 90th floor of Tower Two. Jacobs was a graduate of Fairfield Prep and Fairfield University, and had worked for his firm for more than twenty years.

Mr. Jacobs was a veteran, a Roman Catholic, and is deeply mourned by his family and many friends. His story figures in over 1,000 online tributes and articles written in the wake of 9/11, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Mr. Grady's documented efforts to help his co-workers to safety in the face of impending doom following the attack on the World Trade Center is a profile in courage and a tribute to his heroism.

Please take a moment of your day to remember Michael Grady Jacobs. Remember, too, the grief still suffered by his friends and his family, and remember them in your prayers.

Mr. Jacobs was learning the bagpipes when his life was cruelly taken from him. You might want to listen to "Amazing Grace" online in his honor.

While the pictures may be too graphic for comfort for those in Manhattan that day, a moving video tribute to the events of September 11, 2001, which is very short, can be accessed by clicking here. I hope you will view it if it will not upset you, and think of the loss of so many fine citizens, including Mr. Grady, on that September morning five years ago.

This tribute is part of 2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11 an online initiative by bloggers to remember the victims of September 11, 2001.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dan Seals 10th: Race Not on National Radar

Dan Seals, two-time candidate for Congress in Illinois' 10th Congressional District running on the Democratic ticket, has some bad news today. In an article at Real Clear Politics, his race doesn't make the top 25 competitive races nationwide. Only one Illinois seat made that cut--that vacated by the retiring Jerry Weller in the 11th District--ranked at number 17.

In what might seem to be a bold move, Seals, who has been running for office full-time for nearly 4 years, has put his house in the nearby 9th Congressional District up for sale. Seals has promised to move into the district if elected, which is required by law. However, there are strong but unsubstantiated rumors that his wife, a cheese executive, has accepted a job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Seals' campaign has been plagued by a number of gaffes pounced upon by bloggers supportering incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk. These include accepting an envelope from former Illinois Congressman and convicted felon Dan Rostenkowski in front of a night school continuing education class which Seals taught, resume padding, and a gas-buying publicity stunt which snarled traffic on Milwaukee Avenue and infuriated the police chief in Lincolnshire who had not been given advance warning.

Today's Poll Numbers Tell New Story: McCain Ahead

Will beehive hairdos and rimless glasses be the new fashion trend in Washington? Possibly so. According to today's numbers McCain has made a first--he is ahead in all major polls!

Yesterday's fresh face, Barack Obama, has gone on the attack against Palin, saying "Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.” Unfortunately, Sen. Obama, on the same day, referred to himself as "Muslim" (he isn't, he corrected himself). Whether voters will remember that a couple of weeks ago Obama referred to running-mate Joe Biden as "the next president," and earlier claimed that he had visited 57 states in the United States. remains unknown.

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Trier Visitors from CPS

Because I lost my Internet, I couldn't comment on the CPS students who visited New Trier on Tuesday. The event was well covered on local news channels and newspapers however. Apparently it all worked out quite well, although there were fewer visitors than anticipated. 

All of you know I love a cute picture, and I loved the one above from the Chicago Sun Times.While perhaps its not timely, I wanted to share it in case you missed it.  Since the group led by Rev. Meeks went over to New Trier West, I imagine little Imani Stevenson was a little awed by its size. Her application is sure to be rejected, however, as she is only in preschool.

While I initially felt bad about these students being kept out of school, I felt better when that some of the visitors were in preschool, as I am a great believer in field trips for the younger set. When I was questioned about what she would learn when I voiced my opinion, I couldn't come up with an answer, but I am sure new experiences always enrich.

A sadder story from New Trier's visitors from Chicago's south side was that of Gelissa Johnson, pictured at right, who needed attention from the New Trier school nurse when she suffered ill effects from the hot weather. After she was treated, the school nurse  gave her and her mom a full tour of New Trier West's facilities for special needs students.  Impressed, Gelissa's mother remarked that she would pray that somehow  she could obtain education that good for her 19 year old child. New Trier (actually probably the NSSED) excels at this type of education, which also depends on student volunteers to help out. While the extra money at New Trier surely makes a difference, I hope Chicago Public Schools are using these peer helpers for their special needs classes. It is a wonderful program where all parties benefit. 

I was impressed with how many mothers and grandmothers were involved in the New Trier visit. When families get serious about their kids' education good things result. We would hope that the concepts of school choice and home schooling--all of which can deliver positive results for students--don't get lost simply because they are often viewed as Republican ideas.

More Cougars Spotted in Ilinois?

Every week or so, I get a visitor or two looking for information on cougars in Illinois. Today, I got a search for "Cougars Illinois September." There are always a fair number of reports around on cougars spotted in southern Illinois, so it probably isn't worth worrying about seeing that "northern suburb" isn't in the search. Nevertheless, I do wonder . . .  Officially, the word always is "they're visitors," but I wonder if part of this is that if we had a breeding population here in Illinois they would be a protected species. Well, at least no one has spotted any bears, but with bears a fact of life in Wisconsin (spotted rarely in southern Wisconsin), it is only a matter of time until one lumbers across the border.

"Bryn Mawr" Email on Palin: Opening Salvo to Class Warfare?

I never received any of those sketchy Barack Obama emails, the ones the ones that tried to convince readers that Sen. Obama was a Muslim, etc. Well, maybe I received one, but I promptly deleted it because it was stupid. However, I now have an email forward that purports to be from a Hillary supporter who is a Bryn Mawr alum. The email seems to be an opening salvo to outright class warfare on Sarah Palin. The writer is horrified that Gov. Palin is running for election, and part of that might be that Sarah Palin attended a public university. The writer refers to Gov. Palin as a redneck, Alaska hunters as toothless, and is downright offended that the parents of students in of Wasilla, Alaska have a "tenth grade education."

Brace yourself, you might be geting this email also, or others like it. While the writer promises "let me know and I will send some links to Informative web sites" there is no email address just in case you might want to check them out.

It's hard to think that Hillary or Obama supporters would stoop so low. After all, neither seemed interested in rejecting votes from Alaskans, snow mobilers, the toothless, or those who didn't graduate from high school. It's also hard to believe that a person who shows bitter dislike of the culture of Alaska would live somewhere other than a good liberal state such as Massachusetts or Oregon.

I am grateful that this seemingly endless election will be over in 60 days. There are plenty of differences between the candidates other than the dentistry of their supports, and any American with a 10th grade education is capable of figuring that out for themself.

Wilmette Unplugged

Sorry I couldn't bring you any comments about the Republican Convention, but AT&T unplugged me yet again at the beginning of the week, this time on the phone line that has my DSL. The last post was done where I was lucky enought to find an Interent connection.

After I reported the loss of my DSL, AT&T closed out my "trouble ticket" without doing anything to fix it. Luckily they send a lineman over today and again hooked up whatever they had unplugged. I would think that this was an anti-blog move in a pro-Obama state, but about a month or two ago, AT&T managed to wipe out one of my non-DSL lines twice for practically half a month. Aggrevating.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston Nuptials?

Those narrow-minded Puritans at our house, which would be all of us, have been pretty united in our disapproval of the Republican nominee for Vice-President's daughter. Call us narrow minded, but we reason that if you start your family at a young age and are old enough to marry, you should be married. That would be proper.

We felt a little better to read that Gov. Sarah Palin did plan for her daughter to marry before the Convention. Unfortunately, her daughter was not in agreement. Before Gov. Palin had time to come up with Plan B, The National Enquirer notified Gov. Palin that they were going public.

We all know that first babies can arrive quite soon after a wedding, and everybody, it seems, has a story about a marriage that began under similar circumstances. Often those stories also involve a long and happy marriage.

We are hopeful the young couple not only will marry soon, but that they are interested in the campaign trail. As you can see, above, Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have star power.