Friday, January 30, 2009

Gov. Quinn Sends Right Message for First Day in Office

I was hoping I could find a link to a picture I saw last night on TV showing Pat Quinn wheeling a small suitcase and carrying some suits over his shoulder on his way to Springfield. To my way of thinking, the Imperial lifestyle of politicians which has become popular in the US in the past few years is all wrong, and I was pleased to see this picture. You might want to take a half-hour and listen to Gov. Quinn's press conference this morning; Gov. Quinn seems dedicated to solving the serious problems facing our state, and I found his "can do" attitude refreshing. He hit all the right notes with "Abraham Lincoln" Ronald Reagan" "broadband" and "end to the permanent campaign," along with the usual popular phrases aimed toward Democrats. I say, let's get on board with what we have to do what we can before our state and its citizens are suffering so greatly that it will be difficult to solve any problems at all. There will be plenty of time in the future to worry about electing Republicans.

As you know, I greatly dislike the concept of the permanent campaign. While the Democrats started it, they can end it, too. Once a politician takes office, it is his or her duty to properly represent all of the people, not just those who voted for him or her. Gov. Quinn appears to take this duty seriously for which I am glad. It is a new day for Illinois, and it's time to look to the future.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome to New Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Welcome to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn! Let's hope he keeps Illinois off the Jay Leno and David Letterman shows. The optimists among us are hoping that the high minded ideals shown by the members of the Illinois Senate will remain in their minds and hearts over the weekend or maybe all next week. Let's hope Governor Quinn gets his groove back as a true man of the people.

Article 2 has passed unanimously. Rod Blagojevich will not be able to again hold public office in the State of Illinois.

UPDATE: At 5:02 PM, Justice Anne Burke administered the oath of office to Pat Quinn.

UPDATE: At 5:20 PM, the State of Illinois security detail has left former Governor Blagojevich's house and have been replaced by the Chicago Police Department.

Yes to Article One

Forty votes having been voted, Governor Blagojevich will be removed from office.

UPDATE: Unanimous.

Blagojevich and Quinn: The Governor is Out; Long Live the Governor

No, I jumped the gun; the vote has to be 2/3, not 1/2. The Chief Justice has again taken charge of the proceedings and is stating how the vote will be taken. I wrote the below when 37 Senators had spoken.

The Illinois State Senate seems to have had a collective "come to Jesus" moment in Springfield, and seems that most everyone had their say, 36 of them so far. A few of their observations:

"There should not be one person who walks out of this chamber jubilous." - Sen. Terry Link, Democrat, who has his own ethical problems.

"In the land of Lincoln and the Land of Obama, it is a shameful day. . . . Free at last, free at last, free at last." - Sen. Martin Sandoval

"It's time to put aside our party labels. . . My hope is that today will be a new step for the people of Illinois . . . and [we will] work for the people of Illinois instead of ourselves." - Sen. Gary Dahl

"That is not just a template that was created six years ago. . . . His (Gov. Blagojevich's) remarks were frankly insulting to the law abiding people in our communities. . . . This does not represent a template that grew overnight." -Sen. Jeff Schoenberg

"He did not work in isolation. I believe that our state government must enter rehab--moral rehabilitation." - Sen. Randall Hultgren

"This is a very, very serious set of things that have happened. . . . He (Gov. Blagojevich) somehow got caught up in the process. " - Sen. Iris Martinez

"This is not a sad day, this is a great day. What a joy . . . that we don't have to bomb the Governor out of the second floor." -Sen. James Meeks

"It (impeachment) is not a legal proceeding . . . The problem of 'pay to play' is systemic." -Sen. Jacqueline Collins

"It is a sad day for the citizens of Illinois. The state of Illinois was paying $14 a pair for underwear (in speaking of state contracting long before Gov. Blagojevich) for prisoners. If you believe for one minute that the prisoners were getting $14 a pair underwear you're crazy, you're cookoo. . . . Wouldn't it be great if we never had to raise another dime. . . . My good friend (Obama) had to raise $771 million dollars. . . .(Speaking for public campaign financing) Then we would not have pay to play because no one would have to pay." " -Sen Ricky Hendon

(weeping) "I'm going to press the green button to convict . . . because it has to be done." -Sen. Frank Watson

Last Minutes for Gov. Blagojevich in the Illinois Senate

Over at Legal Insurrection Blog, they've been banging the drum for Governor Blagojevich and against a guilty verdict on the Impeachment for quite some time. Blogger William Jacobson has been pointing out Ricky Hendon as a guy who has it right, and Hendon himself has been on the hustings speaking about his doubts about the Impeachment the past few days. Legal Insurrection has been arguing that the Impeachment is flawed, and that may be why we saw the Chief Justice Fitzgerald turn over the deliberations to Sen. Cullerton. While the author of that blog is a law professor, I imagine he is also a lawyer who from time to time takes on a few cases. While his arguments were also carried on the local blog, Illinois Review, I think he's working for the Governor.

The Senators are now taking turns speaking to their colleagues about what to do, and it's not looking good for Rod.

Hendon Attempts to Inject Error

Ha! The Chief doesn't fall for it, and Senator Cullerton will preside during deliberations. Hendon asks for Justice Fitzgerald to make a ruling on the Articles of Impeachment. Justice Fitzgerald declines, rules against Hendon as he states he lacks authority to do what is asked, and turns the proceedings over to Senator Cullerton.

Impeachment Prosecutor's Closing Argument

Perhaps it was my imagination, but the Impeachment Prosecutor David Ellis seemed both shaken and angry in his closing argument, hitting his stride only toward the end of his speech which ended on a fairly weak note. Governor Blagojevich--who high tailed it out of Springfield on a state plane following his appearance in front of the Illinois Senate--was a tough act to follow and Ellis knew it. In what has been an amazingly controlled procedure by a legislature where fist fights aren't unheard of, Ellis' rebuttal has been the only evidence of hot tempers and and a charged atmosphere in Springfield.

Gov. Blagojevich: "Legal Means with Moral Ends"

Governor Blagojevich still gives a mean speech, and he has just finished an impassioned one over at the Illinois Senate in his Impeachment Trial. Again he recounted his saintly acts and ended with his stem winder of a stump speech about his dad leaving a promising military career in Yugoslavia and coming to Chicago and working hard for the sake of his children. His main argument? If you find me guilty, then you have to find Rahm Emanuel and John McCain and Teddy Kennedy guilty, too, because we were all working together on legal means with moral ends to help the people. His plea was either to allow him to bring in character witnesses or find him not guilty. According to him, he has never, never, never done anything wrong at all.

Barack Obama's name never came up. He was never a leader under Governor Blagojevich so he is home free.

I Am So the "It" Girl

I am not sure how many more times I'll be "it" on the crazy game of tag running amok through the blogs of Chicago, but I always have the goal of being a good sport. First it was Chicago Bungalow, and now the Backyard Conservative is having fun with me. Lest I bore you, dear reader, all the info about me is here, including the rules, the revelations, and who I am tagging, and yes, it might be you. Two updates however: I haven't been wearing the scarf this week though I think I will start doing it again, and I really need to find time to get the 17 year old goldfish a heater--he's looking worse, but hanging on. (Note: volunteer tagees--and we're still ten short--can claim their tag by leaving a comment here.)

Freedom of Choice Act

It never ceases to amaze me how the Democrats have become shills for the abortion industry, and I will never vote for even one Democrat so long as they support and promote the barbaric practice of abortion. Yesterday I had an email about the Freedom of Choice Act which asked me to sign a petition and also sent me to a website where the Americans United for Life have posted the entire contents of their book, Defending Life 2008: A State-by-State Legal Guide to Abortion, Bioethics, and the End of Life. If you are lucky enough to have some nagging doubts about the rightness of abortion, you might want to take a look. I'm not a Catholic, so abortion isn't a matter of religious teaching in my church, but I know increasing numbers of non-Catholics who are being converted over to the side of life.

Abortion isn't a theme on this blog, but the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will likely soon be passed again by this Congress and signed by Barack Obama, one of its original sponsors. How Barack Obama can view himself as a religious person while he lacks a conscience is beyond me. Opponents say FOCA will do away with state laws on parental involvement, on partial-birth abortion, compel taxpayer funding of abortions, and force faith-based hospitals and healthcare facilities to perform abortions.

I am particularly taken by one sentence in the FOCA bill: "One of the most private and difficult decisions an individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers." Once you give some serious thought to this sentence you will see that it is a bunch of poppycock. I can think of dozens of bizarre scenarios using its logic, and I am sure you can, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blagojevich Changes Mind: Will Appear at Impeachment

Down in Springfield, it's just been announced that Governor Blagojevich, who has "failed to appear" at his impeachment by not showing up or sending a lawyer, has now requested permission to file his appearance for the limited purpose of making a closing argument. It sounds as if this request will be granted. Governor Blagojevich's Impeachment may end--maybe tomorrow--on a very interesting note, in contract to the technical (and very boring) past few days.

HR 1: Obama's Economic Stimulus and the Superbowl

When I heard some of the great lines in this new video from the blog at the Cato Institute, I knew you would love it. With the Super Bowl coming up, you might as well be ready with a few quick quips on the on the $825 billion Obama stimulus plan. Imagine dazzling the crowd with lines like "Some of the tax cuts are really new spending being laundered through the tax code," or "What's next, a special program to get rid of dandelions in my lawn?" or "If government spending was the key to growth, North Korea would be an economic Nirvana." But why stop there? Print out a couple of the 647 pages of the 111th Congress' H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and commit them to memory to make you the real life of the party. A quick recitation is bound to make an evening that no one will soon forget!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bush to Obama in Peaceful Transfer of Power

Oops, I almost forgot to ask if you saw this picture! I think this photo op was arranged by President Bush and is the strongest message of the Inauguration, although it might not be as popular with the Obamaphiliacs as a nice portrait. Can you think of a better message to send to the rest of the world--and especially emerging democracies--than the Obamas and the Bidens waving goodbye to George and Laura Bush as they leave Washington DC? The peaceful and lawful transfer of power is a great blessing that all of us enjoy in the United States. The Obamas said a lot of nasty things about President Bush during the campaign, but President Bush turned the other cheek and gave the Obamas a warm welcome to the White House. I am afraid that he was much nicer to them than I would have been. While President Bush botched some stuff--some pretty badly--while in the White House, he left his office with a great deal of dignity and showed the highest level of respect toward our political system, President Obama, and the will of the people.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Abortions for Our Friends

I hope you don't support abortion. It not only finishes off the lives of defenseless babies who are 100% dependant on their moms, from my observation it leaves deep and lasting scars on the women who have them. I suppose that is only fitting but it is also very sad.

Supporting abortion is Big Business and plenty of women make a living off the endless fundraising and political action committed to its continuation. Packaging evil by wrapping it in sanctimonious verbiage about women’s rights can’t change its hideous nature.

Yesterday, Barack Obama quietly restored taxpayer funding to foreign groups that support abortion. To realize how warped it makes its advocates, Sen. John Kerry then opined that the “United States is once again back in the business of good public policy and ideology no longer blunts our ability to save lives around the globe." That is bizarre.

Our President is already on the record supporting abortion for his daughters if they make a “mistake” when they are older. That is a terrible message to send to your children. I hope cute little Sasha and Melia escape the horrors of being in a situation where a father would approve the murder of his own grandchildren.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Internet Memes and Chicago Bungalows

Remember those old chain letters you got when you were a kid where you sent out five letters, added your name to the top of the list and removed a name from the bottom? Supposedly about a million postcards would shortly arrive in your mailbox as if by magic. Of course, your mailbox was never flooded.

Blogger memes are a lot like those letters, but also like a trivia game. The concept is that someone "tags" you and you have to answer the questions posed. Of course, once you've been tagged you have to be a sport and respond. That is trouble because if you fail to do so you could lose the friendship of the person who tagged you, but if you tag half-a-dozen people you could lose every blogger friend who you might have. Sometimes blogging is a delicate balancing act.

As you could imagine, I've been tagged, and this hyperlink is the required link to the person who tagged me. That would be the Chicago Bungalow blog. Do you seriously want to know six quirky things about me in an age where the watchword is "it's all about you?" Hey, I'm so mainstream it took me nearly an hour to think of anything quirky at all. The next requirement is to post the rules on my blog. Like the lawyers say, "they are herein incorporated by reference thereto," the reference being the hyperlink earlier in the paragraph. The six unimportant things about me are on the Chicago Bungalow's comments as well as the details about who I've tagged.

Bye, Caroline, It Was Real

It was nice seeing Caroline Kennedy again. Not really seeing her but seeing her on TV that is. All America was enchanted by President Kennedy's daughter long ago, and with the media coverage it was like catching up with someone you hadn't heard about in a long, long time. She helped Barack Obama become President, and she helped a lot. Then she decided that it would be nice to be a Senator herself, but that did not go so well. Caroline is back off to her private life now for reasons unknown, but the Iowahawk has a blogpost from her maid that may explain it all. Since it's the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time, I am definately recommending it this incredibly dreary winter afternoon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Twice Sworn, Obama Begins New Agenda

Well we all now know that at the Inauguration, in administering the Oath, Justice Roberts failed Barack Obama, who is reputed to never makes any mistakes--or at least own up to them. All news sources have been informed how the story should have appeared by the Obama media machine and they have corrected what they first saw with their own eyes. Roberts, a gentleman, has opined that it is all his fault, and the Oath of Office has been duly corrected and administered twice. Amidst all the wishes of luck, we can now brace ourselves and get down to the serious business of becoming Socialists.

"2009-2010 will rank with 1913-14, 1933-36, 1964-65 and 1981-82 as years that will permanently change our government, politics and lives. Just as the stars were aligned for Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan, they are aligned for Obama. Simply put, we enter his administration as free-enterprise, market-dominated, laissez-faire America. We will shortly become like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or Sweden — a socialist democracy in which the government dominates the economy, determines private-sector priorities and offers a vastly expanded range of services to many more people at much higher taxes.

"Obama will accomplish his agenda of 'reform' under the rubric of “recovery.” Using the electoral mandate bestowed on a Democratic Congress by restless voters and the economic power given his administration by terrified Americans, he will change our country fundamentally in the name of lifting the depression. His stimulus packages won’t do much to shorten the downturn — although they will make it less painful — but they will do a great deal to change our nation. "

Dick Morris has a great deal more to say about how that transformation will take place, and if you have the strength to contemplate it, you can read more here.

The picture is of former Wilmette resident, Rahm Emanuel, the new White House Chief-of-Staff, thumbing his nose at an unknown recipient of the gesture. Apparently Mr. Emauel didn't get an advance copy of his new boss' speech which proclaimed "an end to petty grievances" and that "the time has come to set aside childish things. "

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day Fashions

We went to bed early last night and skipped TV wrapup of Inauguration Day. Apparently Michelle Obama was expected to break all the rules of fashion yesterday, and she did a great job. Not that it matters; the fashion world could use a little pepping up which also could help the economy. We are delighted to note that Barbara Bush, Sr., she of the 12 mm daytime pearls, was not stricken when she saw Michelle Obama's diamond/rhinestone thingy around her neck at mid-day. I will admit that even I had a moment. . .

All the ladies whom I know have opinions on the first lady's Inauguration Day fashions. Their views run the gamut, and interestingly enough don't break down on party lines. Personally, I think that the coat of the daytime dress must have lined with that bullet resistant cloth, same as Mr. Obama had for his suit. That is the only way, I should think--save a buckram lining that I am sure no experienced designer would use--that an outfit of pashmina and wool could have appeared so stiff.

I am calling the ballgown Michelle's "Scarlet O'Hara look." Remember when Scarlet took down the drapes for a dress? The first ballgown looked like Michelle went after the bedspread! Or, as one commenter put it, it was a coconut cake look.

It becomes clear that in one respect Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama are exactly alike. As the saying goes, "it is all about the shoe," and both ladies have the ability to keep America's economy strong as its female citizens rush out to buy the latest look in footwear. We would note, however, that Sarah Palin's favorite brand (Naughty Monkey) costs about 20% of Michelle Obama's (Jimmy Choo). So much for Republicans being elitist.

I can't remember whether last time I cleaned out the closet whether or not I gave away my teal heels. That could be important. After the Inauguration, they may be the new black.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change Has Definately Come to Washington

Change has definately come to Washington. At, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are listed under " The Administration" directly above a link to the Cabinet. (Scroll down) Curious, no?

Inauguration of Obama: From the OMG Department

Gee, thanks, Mr. President for picking a guy who had such nice things to say about us white folk. . .
Benediction at Obama 's inauguration, Rev. Joseph Lowery: '

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen"...


Today Barack Obama has chosen to be sworn into office on Abraham Lincoln's bible. That is a picture of that bible to the left. Whether Mr. Obama has made that choice because the Obamas don't own a family bible, which most presidents choose to be sworn in on, or for other reasons I do not know. But I do know that Lincoln's word remain as true today as when he spoke them: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man . . . But for this Book, we could not know right from wrong . . . Take all you can of this Book upon reason, and the balance on faith,and you will live and die a happier man.”

-Abraham Lincoln

May God bless the new administration and the United States of America.

Link to historical Inauguration Day pictures and photos

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Luncheon: Luxury Food for Public Servants

Here is a picture of the centerpieces which will be featured at Barack Obama's Inauguration luncheon. I imagine they were designed two or three years ago when the economy was going gangbusters as they are beautiful and costly arrangements. Today only 8% of Americans rate the economy as good or excellent, but you would never guess that for the lunch being served on Inauguration Day. It will be paid for by the American people.

I suppose you all now know that at the lunch people will chow down on rare and costly food. There is a seafood "stew" that seems mostly like a chowder, featuring lobster, shrimp, scallops, and a bit of cod. The main course will be duck and pheasant breast. There will also be some vegetables and mashed sweet potates. If you want to duplicate the Inauguation luncheon, here are the recipes. They are not difficult to prepare so you could make them in your kitchen, but to do so will be very expensive.

We have, however, found some pheasant breasts online for only $7.25 each, and an excellent duck breast for $8.00. For the seafood stew, you could get get a nice lobster for under $20.00. Shipping is extra

The desert looked boring, but will probably be liked by the new President who likes fruit desert but doesn't like chocolate. How do we know? Channel 11 had the lost Check Please! show featuring Barack Obama Friday night

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Serious Talk from the CDC: Lay Off the Peanut Butter Goodies

The warning is everywhere but can't be repeated often enough: no foods with peanut butter until the FDA can determine the source of a Salmonella outbreak! Salmonella is a terrible infection that can sicken or kill you so don't take the warning lightly! To date, no association has been found with major national brand name jars of peanut butter sold in grocery stores.

Further info from the CDC.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama, Biden on Way to DC via Train

21,000 job cuts were announced yesterday and USA Today will make every worker take a week off from work, unpaid, in January. People are worried. In the meantime, Barack Obama set out for Washington, D.C. from Philadelphia this morning via a fancy private train. No, no spiffed up Amtrak for this Man of the People!

Barack Obama owes much of the enthusiasm for his campaign to average Americans, or maybe less than average Americans. Those supporters in Philadelphia are greatly disappointed that Mr. Obama, before setting out on a train trip designed to make him appear to be more Lincolnesque, couldn't find the time to meet with them before his journey began. Instead, Obama chose to meet with 250 hand picked supporters. Sadly, it is reported that many of those Philadelphians looking forward to seeing Obama at a public event don't have the money to go to Washington for the Inauguration festivities. That is pretty inexpensive, so if the report is true, these are poor but enthusiastic voters. I really don't even understand the point of coming to Philadelphia to meet in a room with a few people," said one supporter who even let Obama workers stay in her home, "I don't get it." Well, we understand the point and the point has far more to do with perception than reality. has a live link to the Obama train tour where Joe Biden (who no one questions is a man of the people and was introduced as "Amtrak's #1 commuter) is now speaking. I was going to post up a picture of the fancy train which was linked by Drudge, but the link to the photo has disappeared. I am surprised to see that the Obama team is still involved in web scrubbing; once a campaign is over, it seems a little over the top.

Biden is saying nice populist things that would appeal to the heart of most Americans and just now announced announced Barack and Michelle Obama. Movie type music is playing loudly. There is enough bunting and American flags to ensure every picture is a winner. Now Obama is speaking, but maybe for only a minute or two.

Since I couldn't find a picture link to the private train, I decided to post up a picture of the door from which Marie Antoinette ran out of the Versailles palace when the citizens of France had enough of elitist values. For the moment that will have to do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mr. Obama: Not the Time to be Feasting on Pheasant

Yesterday, because it was so cold out, I decided to take the El downtown rather than the train, figuring that a brisk walk on a day like yesterday was a very bad idea. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why it is impossible for an el train to be unable to manage an average speed of 15 mph down to the loop. Granted, Chicago got its rapid transit early, but it seems to me that its high time that the CTA realizes that the El train is no longer competing with the horse-drawn streetcar.

I ran into a friend who I don't see too often and we stopped a moment for a chat. What I heard wasn't good: tales of professional people losing jobs and business so bad at some companies selling professional services that they are in danger of failing.

On the way back home, I had to stop at Howard to transfer to the Purple Line. The heat lamps weren't even giving off heat, and the CTA had cleverly failed to have a solid or glass back to where you stand under the lights. Instead they had substituted ventilated metal, the better to enjoy enjoy the Arctic blasts. The only problem was, people weren't enjoying it at all. More precisely, they were downright miserable.

On the train, I saw a man with a big purple turban and tucked into it was a black bandanna almost completely covering his face and beard. I briefly considered he might be a terrorist, then I saw his lack of boots and a very carefully tailored linen tunic and trousers and no boots, and decided he was either a tourist from India or a new Chicagoan. Mostly I think he was very cold.

I also ran into an acquaintance who had volunteered in Iowa and Wisconsin and Indiana to drum up support for Mr. Obama. He is a nice person with political ambition and since he lives in the city it is no surprise he is a Democrat. He had not yet decided whether to head to Washington for the inaugural. I am hoping that Mr. Obama proves worthy of the people who worked so hard to elect him. While he believes he is a man of the people, I don't. To my way of thinking it becomes clearer every day that he is an elitist, and that is a shame.

Apparently parties celebrating Mr. Obama's election will take the better part of a week. Personally, I am floored by Mr. Obama's inauguration menu. It will be be comprised of the the costliest luxury foods--duck breast, pheasant, shrimp and lobster. To my way of thinking that shows very poor judgment. While the explanation is that since Abraham Lincoln used to eat a lot of game, they should be eating game, too. Nevertheless, I did a little research and it turns out President Lincoln's favorite food was steak. Steak would be cheaper than what is planned, but given the economy I really think pot roast would have been a far better idea. Not only do a surprising number of people really like pot roast, serving it would show some genuine sensitivity to what's happening outside the political bubble in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Senator Burris

Whatever else you may think of the situation surrounding the circumstances of Roland Burris' appointment to the Senate, or Roland Burris himself, the people in Illinois have been well served by him so far. In an age of Governors in track suits and politicians in swim trunks, Sen. Burris has conducted himself with the dignity and formality one would expect from a US Senator. His respect for this high office is clear. While I can't imagine that I will care for what will be his voting record, Roland Burris certainly has created some good PR for Illinois in a very troubled time. We wish him well in his new position.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama: Forget Campaign Promises

Oops. Barack Obama says he can't do all those campaign promises due to the economy. I would submit to you he couldn't do all those campaign promises even if the economy was going gangbusters.

For you people who voted for him: sorry guys, we warned you.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Iran Toys with President-elect Obama

Remember when Barack Obama couldn't wait to take tea with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, assuming that the leader of Iran was dying to meet and chat with him? In a power move designed to make it perfectly clear to Obama who has the upper hand and to embarass, it was announced in Iran that two preconditions must be met before talks can commence: the US must leave the Middle East region and discontinue its support for Israel.

It appears that Obama's rush to grab power is backfiring on him, embroiling him in foreign entanglements even before he takes office.

The Blagojevich Post - Impeachment Press Conference

The Blagojevich post-Impeachment press conference was masterful, though he did sound a little bit like Ed Genson, his defense lawyer. It is clear now why Gov. Blagojevich was impeached: the evil legislature, consumed by special interests, is trying to keep Gov. Blagojevich from doing his vital work for The People, like saving lives. In fact, Gov. B brought some people to the press conference which included someone whose life he saved due to his innovative programs. He is working for The People all of the time (except when he is memorizing poetry) because he always remembers the Golden Rule and his parents who worked so hard. Besides, it was Rahm Emanuel who thought of the drug plan (one of the articles of impeachment) anyway.

Though he was about 20 minutes late, Our Governor came out fighting and looking like a winner. And you know something? In his own mind I think Blagojevich believes it all. Every word.

Taking the Chicago Way to Washington: Should Barack Obama Register as a Lobbyist?

Having high-tailed it out of Illinois before the Blagojevich impeachment, the news reports that Barack Obama is pressing Congress for new legislation. Has he registered as a lobbyist? He isn't a senator any more and he isn't the President. Having resigned in Illinois he isn't even under the ethical duties of a lawyer. There is no office of the President-elect, which he wasn't until yesterday, anyway.

I imagine, since influencing Congress is desirable for a new administration that is why Joe Biden didn't resign from the Senate until today and why Rahm Emanuel didn't resign until last week.

Influencing legislation: isn't that the heart of what a lobbyist does? It occurred to me this morning that since Obama resigned from the Senate shortly after the election, aren't the American people entitled to have him register as a lobbyist and have him make required disclosures? Is he above the law? Clearly no one is going to do anything about this, but it's worth considering . . .

The law states:

‘‘(A) SENATORS.—Any person who is a Senator and who, within 2 years after that person leaves office, knowingly makes, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress or any employee
of any other legislative office of the Congress, on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former Senator seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress, in his or her official capacity, shall be punished
as provided in section 216 of this title."

Gov. Blagojevich Impeached!

The Illinois legislature has finally gotten around to impeaching Gov. Blagojevich, after discussing impeachment for many months. Word leaked out last summer that Articles of Impeachment had been prepared. The trial starts January 26.

Team America has a good post, but the comments are even better.

UPDATE: After seeing the Gov. Blagojevich post-Impeachment press conference, I stand corrected. It was the Summer of 2007 when impeachment was first discussed.

President-elect: Obama No Longer Jumping the Gun

Congratulation to our former junior Senator-in-Absentia, Barack Obama, who is now the President-elect, a title which he affected long before he was entitled to it. Before you start thinking that the Electoral College is some relic of the past, I would urge you to consider the Franken - Coleman race in Minnesota and the Roland Burris appointment here in Illinois.

I am still scratching my head about Obama's statement that "We cannot be sending a message to the world that there are two different administrations conducting foreign policy. Until I take office, it would be ­imprudent of me to start sending out ­signals that somehow we are running ­foreign policy when I am not legally authorised to do so." But why, then, is Obama meeting with the President of Mexico Monday? As a practical matter, never in my life do I remember a soon-to-be President acting as a junior president between election and inauguration.

Complete with the trappings of office, Barack Obama has been carrying on as if he were President for two months now, except for times when he was on vacation or otherwise engaged. I am hoping that this is a once in a lifetime experience for me, as it certainly sends a bizarre message to the world, much of which doesn't understand our political system. President Bush has done a masterful job of handling this anomaly which could have ended up a major embarrassment for the USA.

Of interest, is there a crack appearing in the left-wing that was so monolithic for Obama? Michael Moore is on a crusade to sink CNN's celebrity doc Sanjay Gupta as choice for Surgeon General.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Governor Blagojevich and Roland Burris

I found this little cabbage patch kid in my inbox. You will notice that he looks just like Rod Blagojevich. It came along with the message, "Now you, too, can buy the governor."

Meanwhile, everybody at our house has been enjoying the Roland Burris show. While the country is trying to read some race factor into the equation, the truth is that Roland Burris is one of Illinois' most skilled and experienced politicians. He has had many long years of experience, and certainly knows how to take advantage of a situation where advantage is to be had.

Burris dates back to the pre-hugging pre-celebrity days, when politicans had dignity, gravitas, and perhaps a dash of noblesse oblige. His age insures that he was raised in the day when people valued good posture, standing up straight, and speaking in a formal manner. Washington seems to be hungry for this in their post-Hollywood era, and it is no wonder that Burris is being well received.

Meanwhile, closer to home, McHenry County blogger, Cal Skinner, who ran against Burris for Illinois Comptroller in 1982, looked at an audit of Burris' office during his tenure as Attorney General and isn't impressed with what he saw. While Mr. Burris' political skills are highly honed, his managerial skills seem to be sadly lacking.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Marr Lauer - Ann Coulter Faceoff

Our Internet is down and I blew up our family room computer, so during breakfast I had to resort to the TV. I was lucky enough to catch the Matt Lauer interview of Ann Coulter on the Today Show. I think you will enjoy this spirited exchange!

Obama Inauguration Awarded to Premium Cable Channel HBO

"Man of the People," Barack Obama, yet again shows his disdain for the common man. Rights to broadcast his inauguration have been awarded to HBO, a premium cable channel. I would suspect that many of those people who he endlessly cajoled to give him small campaign contribution ("C'mon, everybody has five dollahs") won't be able to see Inauguration Week on TV. Nice, huh?

UPDATE: NBC Chicago Channel 5 has live streaming coverage of the Inauguration over the Internet!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Yet Another Wilmette Burglary

This is from the Wilmette Police


On Monday January 5, 2009 at approximately 2:30 PM, offender(s) used a ruse to commit a residential burglary in the 3100 block of Walden Lane (west of Hibbard Rd and north of Lake Ave). The offender a white male approximately 35-40 years old, told the victim that he was a village worker who was there to test the water. The subject directed the resident to the basement where he turned on the water and pretended to be testing the water with flashlight. At one point, this subject communicated with an unknown person about whether he was getting a “reading”. After the offender left, the victim discovered that jewelry had been taken from the bedroom. The offenders may have been driving a white pickup truck.

Offender #1: Male, White, 35-40 years of age, 5’7” – 5’8” 170lbs, black mustache and beard, last seen wearing grey baseball hat, blue jeans and camel colored gloves.

Other Offenders: unknown

Vehicle: possibly white pickup truck

In the last six months, there have been six burglaries or attempt burglaries where the offenders have used a ruse to gain entry.

In order to protect yourself from this type of burglary, the Wilmette Police recommend:

Do not let any business person or independent contractor into your house unless you have called them for service.

Do not let any utility employee or government employee into your house without verifying their identity through photo ID. If in doubt, call the utility company or municipality prior to letting them into the house.

If possible write down the license plate of vehicle and description of vehicle.

If in doubt, call the Wilmette Police Department at 847.256.1200.

If you have any information concerning this residential burglary or questions or concerns, please contact Commander Collins at 847.853.7556.

Twelfth Day of Chrismas: Visitation of the Magi

Twelfth Night, Epiphany, is known throughout the Spanish speaking world as "Tres Reyes," as it commemorates the visit of the three kings--the Magi--to the baby Jesus. For whatever reason, the kings are generally pictured at the stable where Jesus was born. I don't think it makes too much sense that Mary and family would have remained at the humble place of Jesus' birth for a week and a half. However a painting with a mother and a child, animals, and resplendently dressed nobleman makes a picture more interesting to paint--and also to look at. This painting is chock full of people and animals, as contrasted to the painting I posted for the Fifth day of Christmas.

You can see this magnificent Nativity altarpiece by Gentile da Fabriano, painted in 1423, at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It is worth taking a moment to click on it and see it in greater detail. Do you see the ox and the donkey? If you look at the other nativity pictures which I posted for the 12 days of Christmas you will see that they play a prominent role in the paintings.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Festivus in the Springfield Capitol Rotunda

I have been falling down on the job. I failed to report that there is a Festivus Pole in the Capitol Rotunda in Springfield along with the religious displays of the season. The people over at the Illinois Review blog are quite upset with this lapse in standards, and have more info as well as an informative TV clip posted that's worth watching. Personally, I am a great deal more concerned that the pole may have subsituted painted steel for the necessary aluminum with a very high strength-to-weight ratio.

As you know, I'm a Festivus fan and this was a special year because I received my first Festivus card, ever. I wasn't worried about the religious life of the sender, seeing that it came from a life-long friend with a wacky sense of humor with whom I also went to Sunday School. But seriously, is there a better way than this pretend holiday to remind us that there are plenty of people who don't celebrate Christmas, or that Christmas trees have nothing to do with the Christian religion?

Apparently the Festivus Pole was a high-school prank, and the application was received with loud laughter. The pole has been a great favorite with tourists who have been busy snapping pictures. Since our state government has spent this state into a funk, any tourist dollars occasioned by the pole are sorely needed. We are really lucky in Illinois that religious displays of the season are not banned, but different religious groups can place displays for their beliefs. This year when I went to Chicago's Christmas Market I noticed that the Muslim display was absent (possibly it had to do with the timing of Eid), and to be truthful I kind of missed it.

Horrible News from Minnesota: the Franken - Coleman Recount

Terrible news from Minnestota via the Wall Street Journal. Cheating like Chicago only dreamed of appears to be happening in the Al Franken - Sen. Norm Coleman recount, and as far as government officials go, the buck isn't stopping anywhere. Even Supreme Court Judge G. Barry Anderson, who is also a member of the vote canvassing board, acknowledge that there is very likely double counting. Final election results are expected this afternoon, and Minnesota state officials apparently don't care about the results.

I was thinking about taking a vacation in Minnesota, but it is off my list. Minnesota is a cheating state and the last thing I want to do on vacation is to be cheated.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Eleventh Day of Christmas

I am sorry to see Christmas slipping away. The extra time for leisure, the  visits with friends and family, and the special celebrations make it a very special time. Pretty soon I'll take down the cards, and by and by the tree. We still have two more months of winter but the days are growing longer every day.

For the eleventh day of Christmas I chose this three kings alterpiece by Hans Baldung who lived and worked in Strasbourg much of his life and was considered the most gifted student of Albrecht Dürer. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

The Backyard Conservative has a post on how Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL, maybe) heard Abraham Lincoln talking to him in Springfield just a few years ago which you might find interesting.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bon Voyage Tribute to Barack Obama

Bon Voyage, Barack Obama; tomorrow you are leaving this city to live your dream in Washington. Chicago was very, very good to you. You came here on a wing and a prayer and have moved on up to $35,000 per night vacation digs and $40,000 a year private schools for your kids.Chicago loves you: just ask Blair Hull, Jack Ryan, and Alice Palmer how you improved their lives.

I had a hard time choosing a fitting tribute to you, a true man of the people. I decided to choose the above because the members of the band look like David Axelrod. There were several runners up from Youtube, all of which feature Na Na Na Hey Hey. I will enjoy listening to all of them right up to the Inaguration:

1. From Remember the Titans - Complete with Portuguese subtitles, this would have been the hands down winner but for the morbid theme.

2. Fancy - nearly won but didn't due to video quality and spoken "2001" at the beginning.

3. Crazy Frog - A close contender because it has the best sound (turn up that subwoofer!) but boring visuals.

4. Steam original 45 rpm - Great sound, same group as above, but no one looks like David Axelrod.

5. EESCH - A little different sound. As I mentioned, I will be listening to this song a lot and variety is good.

6. Unknown high school band - Lots of energy but bad video and no lyrics

This post is dedicated to former Wilmette resident, Jack Ryan; all your old pals miss you.

Tenth Day of Christmas

It's chilly out there. Most years, serious cold weather and snow is just starting, but not this year. Winter has lasted so long already that it seems that it must be time for Spring. This painting by Hendrick Avercamp was painted in the early 1600's and reminds me of my backyard. It doesn't look like the painting, but there is so much ice out there from the recent rains that if I had some skates I could get some serious exercise.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thoughts on the Ninth Day of Christmas

We may have an interesting week or two  ahead as the nation learns about Illinois politics through Roland Burris' appointment to the U. S. Senate. Already the talk show hosts are making jokes about Governor Blagojevich, and Barack Obama is figuring out how to put distance between himself and his Illinois political history.

I am still busy enjoying the holidays, but I am thinking that my idea of a Christmas painting for every day of the twelve days of Christmas might be a little much. I tried to come up with a great way to finish off the last few days but I didn't have any success. I chose this picture for the new year because of the prominent ox behind the manger. When Chinese new year arrives, it will be the year of the ox which should give us extra strength. I know we will all need that in the days ahead.

This nativity was painted by Bicci di Lorenzo in the 1400's.