Friday, August 28, 2009

I Look Out the Window and Discover a Fancy Weed!

How's this for a weed? That's just what it is! I have fallen seriously behind on my weeding and gardening, and maybe that is not so bad! Today I looked out my window and found this lovely flower looking directly at me! While a volunteer plant, it is no slouch. I think one of the birds or animals must have brought it around. Hey, thanks!

Like a rainbow, I view it as a very good sign.

UPDATE: My weed, hibiscus syriacus, is the national flower of Korea. It's also called the Rose of Sharon. It's considered slightly invasive, and it has naturalized well in suburban areas.

Health Care: FCCCERs are NICE--but Not

FCCCERs? That's Dr. (J.D., not M.D.) Obama's name for his "best practices" healthcare unit under his healthcare plan. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCCCER) is the government committee that will know better than of medical journals whether or not your doctor should be reimbursed for a specific procedure under Obama Kennedy Care. Dr. Krauthammer (M.D., not J.D.) points out that the FCCCER would fulfill the same function as England's NICE committee, the best practices outfit that once mandated that you could receive a costly anti-blindness drug only after you went blind in one eye. Krauthammer argues that FCCCERs existence is one more reason the current health care bill is bad, and with the government involved, health care will inevitably be rationed.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., pundits are noticing what Wilmette has been saying since day one: that Obama and crew are a bunch of not-ready-for-prime-time players. One terms them "politically irresponsible;" another "confused," a third goes so far as to compare Obama unfavorably with Dan Quayle, terming the White House Politburo a "carousel of incompetence." The truth? According to Wilmette's sources, the Obamas get bored easily and simply don't care.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obamacare: Not So Popular

"There is a growing perception of condescension surrounding the selling of the White House's health care plan. Common sense tells us the government cannot simultaneously expand coverage and reduce costs. The government cannot dramatically inflate demand for health care services and eliminate market mechanisms for allocating them without devising some way of rationing supply and demand through political means. To suggest otherwise, as the White House has, is not just misleading but insulting. And the American people don't like to have their intelligence insulted.

"The phony sense of crisis, the inattention to the details and the transparent dishonesty of many of the claims have made voters question not only the program but the president. What does Obama have to hide? Why won't he level with us? The discovery that there are hidden, controversial provisions in the plan has sparked rumors about imaginary provisions. Denouncing the false concerns as "lies," as the White House has done, doesn't redeem the apparent effort to obfuscate certain details of the plan. And the now-abandoned request of loyalists to report "suspicious communications" to the White House did nothing to assuage voters' distrust.

"It is this distrust, more than anything, that is eroding Obama's popularity. Voters no longer see him as a grown-up, straight-shooter and basically good guy who is trying to do his best, but as a political opportunist taking advantage of their charity and trust."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is in the news, bigtime, this week although I was thinking that Martha's Vineyard was so last year's vacation. Here is why I would rather go on the ferry from Woods Hole any day of the week rather than on Air Force One.

Standing Up to Wrongdoing, Just Say "No!" to Scotland

As the West goes increasingly mad, and Scotland (and by extension, all Britain) in particular, we are making an annoucement. Due to current conditions, and the need to preserve our very limited stocks for the duration (which may be indefinately), non-family guests at the Padena home will no longer be offered libations which include the ingredient scotch whiskey.

Please further note, that snacks or dessert will no longer include Walker's shortbread, until or unless they open US production facilities whose products consist wholly of US ingredients and manufacture (and we would note that only Wisconsin butter would be tolerated as a substitution). Jules Destrooper cookies, despite their thiness, shall be substituted.

Guests are requested, if wearing kilts or tartan in any form, to ensure that they either have been purchased and manufactured prior to August, 2009 or are of non-British origin.

In protest to the recent happeings in Scotland and to do something positive, please consider a donation for a compassionate cause which fights British cruelty.

Skip Your Life Your Choices, it's Yukky

The pro-life people, along with the ethically-minded have been up in arms about a Veteran's Administration 53 page booklet about end of life choices called Your Life Your Choices (available in Pdf format). Its distribution was halted under President Bush, but reinstated under President Obama. Arlen Specter has called for hearings.

Before reading more about it, I thought I would take a brief look at the booklet itself, but was stopped dead in my tracks on page 23, part of a workbook section. There, you are prompted to choose among: "I cannot seem to shake the blues: Life like this would be: 1) difficult, but acceptable, 2) worth living but just barely, 3) not worth living, or 4) can't answer now."

When garden variety depression is discussed in the same breathe as comas, you know evil is afoot. Depression is not only treatable, left untreated (not recommended!) it generally can go away on its own. Perhaps the public's increasing discomfort over the Obama heathcare plan (and likely the reason for his declining poll numbers) is linked to the President's view of the value of life itself.

My suggestion? Skip the misguided booklet (which made me sick to my stomach) and spend your time on the Papal Encyclical Evangelium Vitae. While I am not a Catholic, that view of human life will open your mind to the human condition, sick or well, as the glory it truly is. Its first words, "The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as 'good news' to the people of every age and culture" are cause enough for good cheer, even if you read no further.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wilmette Salutes Adonis Bell, Hero

Adonis Bell is an 11 year old fifth-grade student at Gompers elementary school in Chicago. His bravery, along with his ability to pay attention and follow directions saved the lives of seven members of his exended family living on South Wentworth Avenue in Chicago last week, when fire engulfed his grandmother's house. "A fireman came to our school," said young Bell, recounting that the fireman told his class, that in case of fire, "Get myself and everybody out. He told us not to grab any stuff. Just get out."

When Adonis discovered the fire at 3:30 am last Wednesday, that is precisely what he did, grabbing first his godsister, Jordan Hobbs, 2, pictured in the photo. After he told her to hang onto the front yard fence, Adonis then checked on the rest of his family, making sure that they exited the building. After assembling his family away from the burning structure, he went to a neighbor's for help. Textbook fire safety and one smart student!

While all material things have been lost, Adonis' family is alive and well, and living at the home of a relative. Further information is available at the original article at the Sun-Times.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My new computer and voice recognition

Hello. Today my new computer arrived. It is the second computer I've bought and two weeks, the first having arrived D O A. Not only does this computer want to use face recognition, it also wants to use voice recognition as well. Unfortunately, it is not so very good at either, or even though I spend a long time doing voice training. I think by telephone is smarter. In fact, I am writing this blogd polished totally by voice recognition. I don't think that you could understand how painful this as unless you yourself dried voice a recognition. I suppose, if I wasn't such a fast typist, it would be great. That is all. At least, all I can stand for today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care: Just What is the Story, Anyway?

"The proliferation of Obama’s gaffes and non sequiturs on health care has exceeded the allowable limit. He has failed repeatedly to explain how the government will provide more (health care) for less (money). He has failed to explain why increased demand for medical services without a concomitant increase in supply won’t lead to rationing by government bureaucrats as opposed to the market. And he has failed to explain why a Medicare-like model is desirable when Medicare itself is going broke.

The public is left with one of two unsettling conclusions: Either the president doesn’t understand the health-insurance reform plans working their way through Congress, or he understands both the plans and the implications and is being untruthful about the impact.

Neither option is good; ignorance is clearly preferable to the alternative."

To read the entire story, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2009 Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty

I'm putting up the flag! Thanks to the hard work of countless bloggers, journalists, and members of government, the email address has been closed with the following bounce-back received:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: Technical details of permanent failure: Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.2.1 ... The email address you just sent a message to is no longer in service.We are now accepting your feedback about health insurance reform via: (state 14).

Thank you and God Bless to every American who spent time publicizing this urgent but informal free-speech campaign aimed at shutting down a volunteer domestic spying program conducted directly from the White House. The American people--rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat--cannot be mocked, even by someone who knows every loophole in First Amendment law.

We would note that the Democratic National Committe is still collecting email addresses to share with the government, which we still find pretty darn fishy. Of course, the White House is still making a little list (which may very well include personal email addresses) on its website, but the first battle against the White House for Freedom of Speech has been won by the People.

This is not 1933 and Barack Obama is no Franklin Roosevelt

"Our system of government depends not only on how many votes you win, but how broadly distributed those votes are. This prevents one section or faction from railroading another. It is evident in the Electoral College and the House, but above all in the Senate, where 44 senators come from states that voted against Obama last year. That's a consequence of the fact that Obama's election - while historic in many respects, and the largest we have seen in 20 years - was still not as broad-based as many would like to believe."

I cribbed the title of this post from Jay Cost, where it appeared in the article with the excellent analysis above. I am unhappy that its obviousness escaped me. Despite Obama's vaunted veto proof Senate majority (60 senators), 44 senators come from states that did not back Obama's election, and 13 members of the majority came from states where Obama lost. This means that-- even assuming Obama had maintained his initial popularity (he hasn't)--Obama has only 47 senators who can back him unconditionally.

While I know something is wrong in the White House, I thought it boiled down to name calling, ridiculing, and bullying of the American populace. Turns out it is name calling, ridiculing, and bullying of the American populace plus a grave overestimation of Obama's mandate by the Obama people themselves. Do read the article.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Astroturfing Healthcare from the White House and Congress

"It's Getting Ugly Out There:
  • A town hall in Tampa FL erupted with fist fights and shoving matches
  • A Texas Democrat was shouted down by right-wing hecklers, many of whom admitted they didn't even live in his district.
  • In Maryland, protesters hanged a Democratic congressman in effigy
"Your Donation Will Help Pay For:
  • The skilled grassroots organizers who work with tens of thousands of volunteer leaders in communities across America
  • Cutting edge technology to turn out thousands of MoveOn members to congressional town halls
  • Hard-hitting ads to make sure our message for real change comes through loud and clear."
The above is from a web-based ad for "Real Voices for Change" campaign. This campaign seeks to astroturf "popular support" for government health care and cap and trade. Given the close connection between the White House, Congressional Leadership, and Moveon, I think it would be fair to say that turning out crowds of people at Barack Obama's Town Hall meetings (where he campaigns for his national health care program) has become more important than building consensus among citizens.

The movement to national health care is not selling well, nationwide. It is clear that many if not most most Americans have no interest in putting their future well-being in the hands of government panels and regulation writers. People do not want their lives ruled from Washington, and Washington simply can't get the message.

According to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, "[I]t is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue." And how does Peolosi know those who are showing up are members of a campaign? Because the speakers failed to show up in jeans and a T shirt. This is surely the first time in American history that the right to speak out has confused dressing properly with a PR campaign. Pelsoi assumes that her health care proposals are precisely what the American people want due to the time spent on them by Congress, saying, "We are confident that our principles of affordable, quality health care will stand up to any and all critics." While that may be the case, the American people are not yet convinced.

Sending groups of trained organizers (most of whom who do seem to wear matching T shirts) to intimidate citizens exercising their First Amendment rights at town meetings instead of providing specifics is not only foolhardy, it is downright un-American and wrong.

The deaf ears of Washington are joined by the voices of the left who are bound together in a hate-fest of name calling of the worst order. According to one leftist, there are on only five reasons why an American would oppose the Obama health care plan: Greed, Republican party loyalty, Stupidity, Being a follower, and Wonkiness.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something for Everyone Plus a Butter Cow

Click here to link to the Buttercow cam!!

Stop complaining that you have no money or time for a vacation. Head for the train or put the family in the car and head to Springfield! The Illinois State Fair is in full swing through Sunday, August 23, 2009!

From wine tasting to symphony, from American Idol Rockers to Intergalactic Wrestling, from animal displays to animal acts, it is impossible to believe that you won't find something there for every taste.

The Illinois State Fair website improves yearly, and this August many of the webcams are visible on the Internet. The hotel booking engines indicate that there are still vacancies in local Springfield hotels and motels, so it's not essential to make it a day trip. You can find all the info you need at the Illinois State Fair website, including the butter cow cam. While I didn't see a picture of it on the website, I also hear that there is a butter sculpture of President Lincoln. How Illinois is that?

Google Opt-out Village: Getting off the Grid

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

Sick of finding everything about you on Google except your shoe size? Maybe it's time for you to sign up for the Google opt-out village! While you might find it a little authoritarian, by clicking "opt-out" on the Google page (which summons the Google van to pick you up) might just be a temptation.

Do read the scrolling information as the video plays. There is important news there about how President Obama plans to slip universal health care into the iTunes user agreement.

h/t Bala, who's always hooked into the latest.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Ethical Collapse of the Left

"The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration's outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable "casual conversations" to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it."

-Obama supporter, Camille Paglia, on the all-volunteer domestic spying program.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time for Fun

I think I have been too serious lately. Time to lighten up a little!

Health Care: Americans Don't Take Well to Bullying

"It began with the spectacle of the president, impelled to go abroad to apologize for his nation—repeatedly. . . .The president has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country’s heart and character. . . .Americans don’t take well, for instance, to bullying . . . It is not, in the end, the demonstrators in those town-hall meetings or the agitations of his political enemies that Mr. Obama should fear. It is the judgment of those Americans who have been sitting quietly in their homes, listening to him."

Best to read the whole article

Monday, August 10, 2009

Obama and Health Care: He's Still Making a List

In pursuit of whether the Obama health care logo looks like an old Nazi graphic, I found out something interesting.
The rat-out-your-neighbors-and-friends program to send "fishy emails" about the government healthcare program to, now being defended by the White House, is being supplemented by a request to send your personal email address to President Obama via his website,, now being paid for by Organizing for America. This collection of email addresses won't be going to an official government arm, but a political action committee organized by the Democratic National Committee. The Democrats want to share your email address with your Congressman and publish your first name, city, and state showing how you support the President.

From's privacy policy, "It is our general policy not to make Personal Information available to anyone other than our employees, staff, and agents. We may also make personal information available to organizations with similar political viewpoints and objectives, in furtherance of our own political objectives." So what is a Congressman anyway? Certainly he or she is not an employee or staff member of the Democratic National Committee, or an organization. That leaves only "agent" for choice, and it's tough to think that members of Congress aren't agents of the people.

While Speaker Pelosi carries on about "astroturfing," Tom Mannis has a post on how Organizing for America is the biggest astroturf of all.

Note: Pictured above, on the left, is a picture of an old letter from Nazi Germany showing the wings and orb echoed by the picture at the right with the healthcare logo.

Friday, August 07, 2009 Don't Count on the White House Privacy Policy to Help You

I've put up the old 2¢ Newfoundland green fish stamp again, my symbol for the citizen spy network quietly announced on Tuesday at the official White House website. This network will collect private information about private citizens through forwarding "fishy" emails (as well as other web based information) about Barck Obama's proposed healthcare system to Setting up a citizen spy network--even if it is all volunteer, informal, and unpaid-- to report friends, neighbors, and those they do not know is a stunning break with the American past, and I am amazed how slowly this story has moved into the media. Today, I found an article on Drudge that quoted a judge that the data collection by the White House might fall afoul of the law. Perhaps you would like to read it.

Today, I also checked the ACLU website, supposedly full of people concerned about civil liberties. Not a word. I did find a link to a paper which maintains that the Privacy Act of 1974 (overview) banned the government from maintaining information on citizens who are not the targets of investigations. I also found a link to the ACLU's Privacy Principles. #1 is "Your personal information should never be collected or given out without your knowledge and permission."

Over at the Federal Trade Commission I found info that the FTC enforces companies' privacy promises about how they collect, use and secure consumers' personal information. I also found the White House Privacy Policy. The policy freely admits "We log IP addresses, which are the locations of computers or networks on the Internet, and analyze them in order to improve the value of our site."Unfortunately, there isn't any information about the collection of "fishy" emails, so I supposed that other than laws that apply to the executive branch, Americans are pretty well out of luck.

UPDATE: The Department of Justice has a number of Privacy and Civil Liberties Resources listed at its website. Under the provisions of the Patriot Act, the Department of Justice has a web page dedicated to receive complaints alleging abuses of civil rights and civil liberties. Unfortunately it is limited to DOJ employees. Perhaps you should write them anyway; maybe someone over there has an interest in civil rights?

Happy Sales Tax Holiday!

Happy Sales Tax Holiday to shoppers who are in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia this weekend. If I lived near one of these states, I would go over and go shopping just to add my voice to those seeking tax relief. Wouldn't you agree that a 10% retail sales tax is simply over the top? Fishy Healthcare Post Features Newfoundland 2 Cents Stamp

Do you like the fish? It's a photo of an old 2 cents postage stamp from Newfoundland, Canada which is very valuable. With the White House domestic spying program urging you to forward emails and websites with "fishy information" about the Obama healthcare plan to, I was thinking of a little logo that might be of help. Not only could we give Obama partisans a heads-up on any posts they might consider suspicious, it's possible we could educate the people reading the emails, too. How great would that be?

The Obama administration is concerned that people speak well of the new healthcare proposal, and if you don't speak well of it, could it be because you don't understand it? Or would it be because you do? Here is a link to the actual healthcare bill. The White House knows, even with ample evidence to the contrary, that you are going to like this law, so you probably need a copy. But even if you download it in Pdf format, and spend your commute reading it, you might be challenged. Well, seeing that many citizens of Wilmette are attorneys who deal in regulatory matters, maybe not, but many--I assure you--will. Here is one excerpt:

"The productivity adjustment described in this subclause, with respect to an increase or change for a fiscal year or year or cost reporting period, or other annual period, is a productivity offset equal to the percentage change in the 10-year moving average of annual economy-wide private nonfarm business multi-factor productivity (as recently published before the promulgation of such increase for the year or period involved). Except as otherwise provided, any reference to the increase described in this clause shall be a reference to the percentage increase described in subclause (I) minus the percentage change under this subclause.';"


"(II) In the next iteration, the Secretary shall compare the MSA of the second-highest GAF to the weighted-average GAF of the group of remaining MSAs. If the ratio of the second-highest MSA's GAF to the weighted-average of the remaining lower cost MSAs is 1.05 or greater, the second-highest MSA becomes a separate fee schedule area. The iterative process continues until the ratio of the GAF of the highest-cost remaining MSA to the weighted-average of the remaining lower-cost MSAs is less than 1.05, and the remaining group of lower cost MSAs form a single fee schedule area, If two MSAs have identical GAFs, they shall be combined in the iterative comparison. "

Got that? I thought so. Over at the Sam Adams Alliance they have put up an entire page of links with information which comprise a virtual library about healthcare in ordinary English. Just click here to jump instantly to the information.

Think this post is fishy? Join the citizen spy corps by clicking the little envelope at the end of this post and send it direct to Washington!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

North Shore Saddened by John Hughes Death

"I don't think anyone has come close to him as being the poet of the youth of America in the postwar period. He was to them what Shakespeare was to the Elizabethan Age." -Ben Stein

We send our deepest sympathy to the family of John Hughes, the famous movie director who has passed away in New York City. He was only 59 and suffered a heart attack while walking in Central Park. Hughes brought Chicago's North Shore, including Wilmette, to the movie screen in a number of wonderful films. Pictured above is Wilmette's Romona School, the elementary school in Uncle Buck.

John Hughes was an avid Republican. The news of the recent days: the unprecedented national debt; the beginnings of a domestic, volunteer spy program; the impression that Washington will cram its solution to healthcare down the throats of the American citizen whether or not they want it might be the very real cause of death.

UPDATE: Reader Danny Bloom has commented and also sent an email with a link to an article with a picture of John Hughes in Chicago in 2009.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Outrage! White House Seeks Domestic Spies

This is no joke. The White House is seeking a volunteer citizen spy corps to report to the Obama administration Internet based "disinformation" about "health care reform." In the White House's words: "Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet." Specifically the White House is requesting that you forward "fishy" emails (many of which will have a complete chain of personal email addresses) and web site links directly to the White House. Beyond the collecting of information, it is unclear what the White House plans to do with the names of those citizens turned in by their friends and neighbors.

From the official White House web site comes the following:

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

What I am reporting is not a parody and not a joke. It is happening today, right here in America. Congressman Darrell Issa of California is concerned that the White House is engaging in official intimidation of Congressmen. Will the ordinary citizen be next?

Please circulate this information and the White House link widely. God help us all.

UPDATE: Today, August 5, 2009, Sen. John Coryn (R-Tx) wrote President Obama, urging him to cease this program immediately, and requesting that he "detail to Congress and the public the protocols your White House is following to purge the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and identities of citizens who are reported . . ." To read his letter, click here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Costly Euro Bad News for Vacationers

Planning a European vacation? Oops. Better add a tin cup to your packing list just in case you are reduced to begging to pay your hotel bill! The euro is now at $1.4242, as Americans grow poorer by world standards by the day. Think that big-time national debt doesn't matter? Think again! Sure hope you're not headed to Switzerland! The Swiss franc is now at about 94 cents. Many years ago it was worth a quarter. There are many ways to spend oneself into poverty, and it's possible that government rather than individual effort just may do that for us.

Most people I know are feeling a little pinch from the recession (or a lot of pinch, depending), so everyone should be delighted that Washington (read White House) is eyeing a middle class tax increase.

Got Unclaimed Lottery Winnings? 75K from July 6, 2009 Ticket Bought at Family Pantry in Wilmette

Did you buy a lottery ticket around the fourth of July over at the Family Pantry on Lake? If you did, read on.

When I was cleaning up, I found a Mega Millions lottery ticket from February. I don't think I ever checked the numbers, and much to no surprise, when I did all I had was a costly piece of white paper with a red stripe on the side. Since I don't spend as much on gambling per year as I would spend on one Starbucks latte, I am not too worried about my self. That is, except for the disappointment at feeling so discouraged about the future I would gamble. But let's face it: an extra $175 million in my pocket right about now would really improve thing for me. That didn't happen, but someone luckier than I has $75,000 waiting for him or her for the July 6 Little Lotto draw.

When I checked my numbers online, I found out that there is $75,000 in unclaimed lottery winnings for a ticket purchased at the Family Pantry on Lake for the drawing held on July 6, 2009. If you purchased a ticket recently at the Family Pantry, do check you pocket or purse. Finding out that is was you, could really improve your whole day!