Friday, July 31, 2009

White House Beer Summit Sends a Bad Message: Got a Problem? Have a Drink!

When it comes to last night's White House Beer Summit with Henry Gates, Barack Obama, James Crowley (and Joe Biden) in attendance, I'm with the WCTU spokeswoman. She suggested that lemonade or iced tea would have been a better choice to serve than beer. If you are going to talk to Barack Obama over the next few days, could you please tell him that alcoholism is a terrible health problem that can lead to very costly medical bills and is the third leading cause of death in this country after heart disease and cancer? Also, could you please tell him that the American Medical Association teaches its physicians about the link between alcoholism and family violence? Time was, the leadership of the country would never have suggested that consuming alcohol could lead to the solution of any problem. In my mind, President Obama is glorifying alcohol, which sends a bad message to young people. Am I too old-fashioned?

Since whatever was said in the White House garden over beer yesterday is a secret, we have to turn to the New Yorker, to imagine what might have been talked about. After the summit, Professor Gates published a fine, patriotic statement around his arrest incident that he had probably been crafting for many days, Officer Crowley said that he and Gates agreed to disagree. In Boston, the news story that Crowley and Gates are both descended from Irish High King, Niall of the Long Knives, has been circulating. Seeing this whole situation as a tangle between two hot-headed, distant Irish cousins, who let their temper get the worst of them, might explain this situation best of all.

But I digress. The government's National Institute for Health has wonderful educational resources which teach about alcohol drinking at their website called Rethinking Drinking. It is terrible when drinking becomes a problem, and there you can learn enough at the NIH's webpage to find out if that might be happening. With the tabloids whispering that a certain White House wife is developing an over-fondness for white wine, it's time to remind ourselves that could happen to anyone.

UPDATE: I wrote Rita K. Wert, of nearby Evanston's WCTU (Woman's Christian Temperance Union), and she responded, "I have stated that the WCTU is very disappointed that our president would choose to invite these gentlemen for a beer when there are so many other beverages that could have fit the bill, ie, iced tea with fresh lemon or mint, lemonade with fresh lemons, flavored waters with fresh fruit skewers, punch mixes, etc. He is choosing to set a very poor example for the citizens of our land. . . . Alcohol is the #1 drug in America; it kills brain cells which cannot regenerate and most of us cannot afford to lose; and it clouds judgment, to say nothing about the harmful effects it has on our bodies." Ms. Wert also said that she would like the opportunity to tell Mr. Obama to consider raising the taxes on alcohol.

FURTHER UPDATE: It's reported that Henry Lewis Gates Jr. sent his neighbor, Lucia Whalen, who reported what she thought was a break-in at Gates' house a bouquet of flowers. Mrs. Whalen--who never mentioned the race of the men who she thought were wrongfully entering Gates' house--has been distraught at allegations that she is a racist.

FINAL THOUGHT: All's well that ends well. There is an important lesson in this minor brouhaha in Cambridge. While I am personally opting for the hot-tempered Irish cousins theory, both Crowley and Gates were both engaged in some wrongdoing, although of a more-or-less minor nature, made high profile due to Gates' celebrity-professor status. The real lesson here--learned from the subsequent actions of both Sgt. Crowley and Prof. Gates--is that people make mistakes and engage in some wrongdoing against others on a fairly regular basis. Maturity is all about what happens afterwards. I say "Hurrah!" for the Cambridge Police and the union who stood behind Officer Crowley as a fellow officer and refused to be divided by those who would turn this into a racial incident rather than a response to a fairly routine police call. Hurrah for Gates and Crowley, both of whom refused to walk away from this situation in a huff. And finally, hurray for Ms. Whalen, who was just trying to do the right thing as a neighbor and alert the police to a bulglary incident.

If you like the idea of temperance, or just old posters, do click on the picture, above, from France at the time of the Absinthe drinking craze, which robbed the world of some of the brightest and best minds of an entire generation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

House Resolution 615: Dr. Fleming's Prescription for Better Healthcare

Dr. John Fleming, a primary care physician-Congressman from Louisiana, is pushing for House Resolution 615, a bill which will urges Congress to live by the same health insurance rules as the American people if healthcare is voted out of Congress and becomes law. Part of the nation thinks national healthcare or insurance is not only good, but necessary, and another part of the nation is very fearful of its passage. If Congress is willing to live by the same rules that they impose on the American people, don't you think we would get a better law? (Current health care bills don't make the rules apply to Congress, similar to the way Congress is exempted from Social Security.) There are 66 co-sponsors of Fleming's proposed bill, many of whom represent poorer areas where Government Health Insurance might be heavily used.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Henry Lewis Gates Jr.: Obama's First Crisis?

I decided to do a little research on the Henry Lewis Gates, Jr. situation, in light of the President's remarks the other night that Gates' arrest was stupid. The more I learn the more bizarre the situation seems. First I read the police report. Then I did a little googling and found out Professor Gates asserts that he could not lock his house before he went to the police station due to a previous break-in, but is irate that the police are investigating a break-in. The arresting officer has spent 5 years teaching race relations at the police academy, and he was appointed to that post by the black chief of police. Then I started seeing a list of all the people who were weighing in on this situation, which seems to be just about everyone. At this point, I decided simply to post up the link to the police report and leave it at that. For that reason I won't mention that when you compare the transcript of the question at the press conference to the police report, not only did the President not know the facts, the ones he assumed he got all wrong.

UPDATE: You can read the update to this post, which I wrote after the White House Beer Summit, by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Retread Department: Perennial Candidate Dan Seals Announces Another Run in Illinois 10th

This one you will never believe. As soon as Mark Kirk announced his run for the Senate, two-time loser for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat, Dan Seals, announced that he plans to take a third crack at becoming a Congressman for Chicago's northern suburbs. How exciting is that? Well, not very.

Nearly 9 months have elapsed since Seals was last officially a candidate for Illinois 10th Congressional District. Candidate is the job that Seals now has held as pretty much a full-time gig for several years now. In his honor we've posted up the tire retreads. Been there. Done that. Are the Democrats out of people?

Having heard rumors that Seals' wife has a new job in Wisconsin, I thought it possible that Seals finally moved into the northeast Illinois district that he seeks to represent. While I hear that is not the case, can't a voter dream? We won't go into his recent campaign history such as his gas-up-the-cars-and-create-havoc-on-Milwaukee Avenue-in-Libertyville campaign stunt that stopped just short of criminal charges, his incredible story that he didn't understand the difference between a real professor and a guy teaching a once-a-week night school class, and some other doozies. Hopefully he will fade away if a more qualified candidate--like one with some substantial real life experience other than going to school and running for office--appears on the scene.

h/t to Team America, who still has time to read his mail.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mark Kirk Announces for Senate: The Cats Comment

So when I saw my minister, my Committeman, and my former governor on TV over at Mark Kirk's old house in Kenilworth today, it started to dawn on me that I may have to forgive Mark's vote on Cap and Trade. That is a pretty tall order, that is for sure, especially since I don't think I got invited to Mark Kirk's Senate announcement press conference. Well, maybe I was invited but I have been so busy preparing for the Kenilworth Union Church annual Rummage Sale this coming Saturday I haven't checked my email or my voicemail. Since I wasn't there, I couldn't take a picture. For that, you will have to go over to Team America's blog.

The cats who live at our house said they had a pretty good video to post up instead, so I decided to go for it. Generally speaking, if you think your cats are talking to you, it might be best to listen.

What is Capitalism?: Just In Case You Forgot

We found this old film, "What is Capitalism?" on the Internet at our house over the weekend, and decided that it is too good not to share. Maybe you know someone to whom you should send it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dan Proft and the Illinois Borrowing Program

Dan Proft, now a candidate for Illinois Governor, got his political start as editor of the conservative daily at Northwestern University. His take on Illinois' plan to borrow to pay its bills is interesting:

"[T]he governor and General Assembly might as well have just passed a tax increase, rather than hide behind their borrowing measure. The $3.5 billion the state will now borrow to pay the bills will lead to roughly $700 million in interest payments. And who’s on the hook for that? You, the Illinois taxpayer, that’s who. And be forewarned, Gov. Quinn still hopes to pass his 50% income-tax increase in six months, conveniently after Illinois legislators have survived any primary election opposition."

You can read the entire press release the Proft for Governor website.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Easy Explanation: The New Government Health Care Plan

Concerned you don't understand the proposed new health care plan being planned for us in Washington? Worry no more! Simply study the above organizational chart and you are good to go! Better yet, keep a copy in your pocket or purse for convenient reference, or just make it the background on your computer! You can click on the picture for a larger copy, or click here for the best size to print out for personal and educational use.

Note: If you are looking for trustworthy written information about the Obama healthcare plan from a free market perspective (you can choose from a number of sources) click here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

President and First Lady Sport Odd Fashion Choices at the Vatican

The Vatican was recognized as a country by the Reagan admin- istration, so our President's visit to Vatican City was an official state visit. As you can see from the picture at the right, the President was a little under-dressed when he went to call on the Pope. The Obamas have a reputation for disliking the requirements of protocol so greatly that they do not even travel with a protocol officer. Perhaps that's why President Obama failed to dress properly, when he paid a call, or maybe he simply forgot his formal wear. Or, perhaps President Obama was sending a message that he thought the Vatican is a little too old-fashioned?

Whether a woman wears a dress or whether the dress wears her often boils down to a matter of taste. Following a number of questionable fashion choices in Europe (leading to rumors that Michelle Obama is expecting), Michelle Obama wore this Bride of Dracula get-up, complete with satin blouse, over to the Vatican. Please, next time just take the protocol officer. While the fashion industry will not criticize as it is grateful for the fact that Mrs. Obama has an unlimited wardrobe with more changes than a stage play, it is very sad that we lost Mr. Blackwell to that great runway in the sky last fall. Perhaps he would have helped.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dancing Back to Work

How fun would it have been to see this Sound of Music dance when you got off the train this morning? Just the thing to cheer you up on a Monday that you might not feel like heading back to work! The video was shot in Antwerp's Central Station at 8:00 AM on Monday morning March 23,2009 after only 2 rehersals as a television show promotion.h/t M.A. via email

Wisdom from Russia, but not Political

The Land of Lenin beckons! It surely is a sign of the times that President Barack Obama left the country for Moscow over the 4h of July weekend. Early pictures reveal that Michelle is popularizing the housedress and cardigan for foreign travel.

While I remain very suspicious of Russia, all their thinking is not bad. I found this quote from the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, worth sharing:

“An internally devastated Christianity deprived of inner strength by the renunciation of its ancient traditions cannot resist the pressures of the present age. Under the influence of liberal ideas and secular moral standards, we must fear that we may lose the spiritual and moral standards that have sustained the Christian church over many centuries. When one or another Christian community revises the theological or moral basis of Christianity in order to make itself more ‘contemporary’ or more ‘politically correct’, this is a direct route to the loss of its spirituality. Christians only have strength if they follow the precepts of Christ, not when their build their lives upon the whims of the secular world.”

- Bishop Hilarion. Patriarch of Moscow celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ecumenical Council of the Churches of Austria

Sunday, July 05, 2009

More Fireworks!

I really liked the fireworks shows this weekend! If you are in withdrawal, you could go to Crystal Lake tonight, because their fireworks show is the 5th of July! Otherwise, there are fireworks at Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday through Labor Day this summer. The fireworks guide,, has information for the entire year, and links to fireworks displays in the USA and around the world.

There is a lot of information on the Internet about fireworks, including info on how much a professional fireworks show costs, how you can easily set up a short-term, nearly risk-free fireworks business in certain states (complete with videos of the fireworks packages you could offer), and products you could buy (and in parts of our country legally possess) including the Chinatown Celebration special strip of 16,000 firecrackers for the low-low price of $219.19 ("This strip lasts so long!! You would think that it gets boring after so long, but it doesn't! My neighbors got so mad because it seemed like it lasted 10 minutes!!! A++++").

Interestingly enough, pyrotechnic experts Fireworks by Grucci suggest that "fireworks are the least expensive way to entertain thousands and even tens of thousands of people." Somehow, I had never thought about it that way before.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Have a Wonderful Fourth!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Silly Online Ad

With the long holiday weekend nearly here, how about something light-hearted? If you click here, you will be taken to a very funny online ad for Pringles potato chips. Next to the little man's head is a balloon which says "click." Just click on there until you get really bored; you will laugh! The ad itself--which won a gold award for Bridge Worldwide at the Cannes Lions international advertising festival--is pretty interesting, using a method that wouldn't quite work in any other medium other than the Internet.

Bargain Bin: All of Washington Now for Sale!

Just in time for the 4th of July, all of Washington appears to be for sale! Yes, you too can buy access and help for the low, low price of only $25,000! Why look down your nose at the people in third world countries, when you can act just like one? In fact, why even hide corruption under a system of nods and winks when you can advertise it in a brochure! Further details here.

Pretty corrupt, eh?

UPDATE: Mmmmmmmm maybe too blatent? Apparently this realy lousy infludence-peddling idea has been put on hold, at least for the moment. Is there any wonder why newspapers and evening news shows are dying?

Mark Kirk, Cap-and-Trade, and K Street

"For Republicans to stop delivering victories to Obama they need to engage our country in a righteous fight to distinguish us from the sagging, pitiful regimes that marked old Europe and that Obama would return us to.

"Although President Obama enjoys a Democratic majority in both the Senate and House it is actually Republicans who keep delivering legislative victories to him.

"On June 26, the House just barely passed Obama's controversial cap-and-trade global warming bill by a seven-vote margin (219-212). It was the 8 Republicans who voted for the bill who provided the margin of victory. Those Republicans are: Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Mike Castle (Del.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McHugh (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Leonard Lance (NJ), Dave Reichert (Wash/), and Chris Smith (NJ).

So I thought I would investigate what our old Congressman John Porter is doing these days, and clearly he's doing well, indeed. My inbox is full of emails on cap-and-trade and Mark Kirk (one of the GOP's Cap-and-Tax 8), and most of them assume Mark is retiring. I will live by the 11th amendment, but I may have discovered Mark's future address. John Porter made a specialty of being bipartisan, but every time he needed political work he thought the Republicans would be delighted to help him. Over the years, people got really sick of this, and I imagine that they haven't recovered yet.