Monday, September 28, 2009

Social Media: #1 Activity on the Internet

I loved this video about social media and social networking. Do take a look. The world has changed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Allwetter Zoo in Muenster Welcomes New Baby Rhino

Do you love this charming little baby rhinoceros? She is only 4 days old and doesn't even have a name yet. She was born at Muenster's Allwetter Zoo, in Germany, on Sunday. Her mom, Emmi, had previously shown very poor parenting skills and was growing very nervous after the birth, so the little rhino was separated from her mom to save her life. She will be introduced to the public later this week.

Over in Germany, the zoos are very clever at using events such as the hand rearing of baby animals to draw tourists. Then visitors post up their pictures on Flicker and put their videos on Youtube. This draw even more tourists. Following a great deal of publicity, a couple of years ago, I went to see the baby elephants at the Elephant Park at the Zoo in Cologne, and it was very fun. The delight of the children in the crowd was almost as good a show as seeing the animals. It's amazing to me that Brookfield zoo, which I understand can be easily reached by train from Chicago, has never caught on to this easy method of attracting visitors. Since I remember paying almost $20 to visit the Cologne zoo, more visitors can really help out the zoos with their programs.

Of course, the German press is very helpful in promoting visits to the new baby animals, providing seemingly endless high-quality, very cute photos. The zoos also dream up other ways to engage the community. In mid October, the Allwetterzoo will host a 35 minute ecumenical church service at 3pm with choir and orchestra. Cleverly, the service--not a bad idea in a town that has a miserable history when it comes to religious wars--will be right outside the gates of the zoo in the middle of a Sunday afternoon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Barack to George: Do Not Check the Dictionary for the Definition of Tax!!

Ran into old friends today, and the wife confided that they are terrified of the fines planned for those lacking the properly approved health insurance. I said I am worried, too. On his Sunday talkshow marathon , the President denies these fines are taxes, simply by saying it isn't so. This video where George Stephanopoulos is taken to task, laughed at, and scolded for going to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the definition of tax will be posted everywhere shortly, if it isn't already, and it can't be played often enough. (If you want a longer version, click here.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Will US Policy Throw Poland and the Czech Republic to the Wolves?

Remember pictures such as this? Almost 30 years ago, Lech Wawesa and the Solidarnosc Movement in Poland shook off the shackles of Soviet oppression. As Chicago is the world's second largest Polish city, Chicagoans watched the unfolding Polish democracy movement not only on national but local news. In Chicago, Solidarity Movement political buttons were not rare on coats, and Polish flags became a common sight.

If Communism creates workers' paradises, why was it was leadership from the factory floor that ousted the Russians? Washington's newly announced abandonment of the Eastern European missile shield has Poland and the Czech Republic very worried, and from a historical perspective, rightly so.

The decision to abandon Poland and the Czech Republic makes it ever clearer that Washington's lack of interest in Poland and the Czech Republic is a result of its increased interest in friendly relations with Russia and Iran. In a void of Presidential leadership, it has fallen to a corporation, the Helmsley Group, to make it clear that they want nothing to do with Iaran or its leadership when they enter the United States for a UN conference next week. Discovering that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was to speak at an event at their New York hotel, the event was promptly cancelled. "Neither the Iranian Mission nor President Ahmadinejad is welcome at any Helmsley facility. The Helmsley organization is grateful to United Against Nuclear Iran for bringing this matter to its attention so that appropriate action could be taken."

Yesterday, I saw a camper driving down a Chicago street that had been decorated for a Tea Party, possibly last Saturday's in Washington, DC. On the side were a couple of signs that said something like "I came to the US at the age of 9 to escape Communism. I did not come here to see the US turn into a Communist Country." According to leadership in Washington, DC, for this blogger to even mention such a sighting, now appears to put a mainstream American--me--into the ranks of kooks, deranged people, race-haters, and other odd types. I beg to differ. Millions of Americans don't have views much different from mine, and they are becoming more vocal by the day.

UPDATE: The Polish cause is near and dear to Chicago Blogger's hearts as blog after blog covers the American treatment of Poland. A few examples, Backyard Conservative, With Both Hands, and Marathon Pundit.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Communists, Socialists, and Shattered Lives

Curious about the video? Think I've lost my mind? We've had some visitors lately who have been very unhappy with my views against government run health care, so I thought it would be a good idea to be a bit more hospitable. We hope this will help. It does, after all, pay to see what the other side is saying. You never know when and where you might find a bit of wisdom. Just because you are conservative doesn’t mean you can’t be open minded.

Interestingly enough, over at the Wilamette (as in Valley, not as in the town, Wilmette) Communists' website I also found a video linking the Scottish Trade Union and Palestine. Given the recent release of the Lockerbie bomber by the Scottish government, I am thinking that Internet travel can broaden as much as traveling to foreign countries. I also went visiting to the Socialists website. You might find something you would like there, I did. If it wasn’t so unrealistic, I really could get behind their demand for a 30 hour workweek with no decrease in pay! I was also struck by how many of the Socialists' ideas have already been adopted by the Democrats.

But I digress. Today I have a link to the brand new 210 page electronic pre-release version of the book, Shattered Lives - 100 Victims of Government Health Care for you. Since it's in Pdf format, you can save the file and read it or print it out at your leisure. Feel free to send a copy to all your friends. It’s a little depressing, but come to think of it the news these days isn’t uplifting at all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nation is Skeptical About Healthcare Reform

So the black line (now 52%) is the percentage of people who approve of the job that President Obama is doing and the red line (44.4%) is the percentage of people who disapprove of the job President Obama is doing. Even the most senior White House advisers would have to admit that the trend is not good. I imagine they figure that with so many campaign appearances, the numbers will change any day now; remember Iowa last year?

We already know from last week's healthcare speech that Barack Obama's door is open to everyone provided that you agree with him. ("My door is always open. But know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this [healthcare] plan than improve it.") I don't think many people will be motivated to stop by for a chat if they think that they might be tossed out on their ear. Threats against legislators and citizens--as opposed to, say, enemy nations--doesn't appear as if it is being well received. It's good to see that when a popular politician resorts to bullying, people are willing to stand up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Washington DC 9/12: Anti Big Government Rally

Generally speaking, when people gather in large numbers in the nation's capital at their own expense in challenging economic times protesting unprecedented growth in the power and size of government, it might be smart to take notice. Yet, with all the good sense shown by Marie Antoinette when she remarked that the hungry citizens of France assembled at her door should "eat cake," the thousands of citizens who showed up yesterday in Washington, D.C. to protest specific legislation and government spending are being marginalized, laughed-off, laughed at, and called names by a large group of pro-government journalists and commenters. The idea that somehow Americans have lost the right to assemble and petition the government for their grievances because the Democrat party won the last election is still being peddled by some journalists who who appear to have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to free speech.

When the citizens of France assembled on the eve of the French Revolution, they probably looked more ragtag than yesterday's group in Washington. And while actual hunger is a far greater spur to action than the fear of economic ruin, we would note that it is unlikely that Marie Antoinette ever said anything about cake. She was, however, viewed as a huge spender by the suffering populace and the infamous phrase, likely never uttered, was widely accepted as truth.

A comprehensive wrap-up of the numbers attending can be found at Michelle Malkin, although crowd estimates range from 60,000 to 2 million. This 6 1/2 minute video of the march, taken by a bike rider following a route from Freedom Plaza to the US Capitol gives a shaky, though very interesting view of the sights and sounds of the day. Of particular interest is the upbeat mood of the crowd, looking far more ready for a political rally or Fourth of July parade than a revolution.

The photo was taken by mar is sea Y who posts at Flickr.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama "Called Out" for Moral Bankruptcy on Healthcare

"No message has been more welcomed by the gullible, in countries around the world, than the promise of something for nothing. That is the core of Barack Obama's medical care plan.

"To tell us, with a straight face, that he [Obama]can insure millions more people without adding to the already skyrocketing deficit, is world-class chutzpa and an insult to anyone's intelligence. To do so after an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office has already showed this to be impossible reveals the depths of moral bankruptcy behind the glittering words.

Thomas Sowell is refusing to buy into the lie that our nation is currently living in its discussion about healthcare, and has the courage to tell the truth in a brief, masterpiece editorial. Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Remember Carl Molinaro, NYFD, 9/11/2001

"Everybody that knew Carl loved Carl, especially me," said Donna Molinaro, in an interview in October, 2001. Mrs. Molinaro is the widow of firefighter Carl Molinaro. He died in New York City in the collapse of One World Trade Center while aiding building evacuation with Ladder Company 2, on September 11, 2001. Nearly 15,000 lives were saved through evacuation that fateful morning.

Carl was only 32. His newborn son was just three weeks old, and his daughter only 3 at the time of the attack on America. A native of Brooklyn, he had moved to Tottenville on Staten Island in his childhood, played football for Tottenville High, and was raising his family in the same neighborhood.

Carl was remembered by famous writer Kurt Vonnegut at a Memorial Service held on October 23, 2001. In that speech, Vonnegut--whose own life and house had been saved by firfighters just two years earlier--referred to an earlier quote of his, "I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire truck."

Clearly, Carl was as taken by firefighting as was Vonnegut, moving from working in his Dad's New Jersey furniture factory to learning to be a firefighter in his late 20's. His life and contribution to the survivors of 9/11 is memorialized in nearly 2,000 online tributes to him.

This tribute is part of Project 2996, an online initiative which remembers the victims of the terrorist attacks upon the United States on 9/11/2001.

We Remember Michael Grady Jacobs: 9/11/2001 - Tower Two

When Michael Grady Jacobs headed off to work in Manhattan from suburban Danbury, Connecticut on September 11, 2001, it was a bright and beautiful morning. Fifty-four years old, at the prime of his career, he had a fine job at Fiduciary Trust International, as Vice-President of Tax Operations. He was a local Danbury boy, having received a good Jesuit education at Fairfield Prep, which prides itself on forming men of competence, compassion, and commitment as leaders of the world, after which he went on to Fairfield University.

Michael Grady Jacobs worked on the 90th floor of World Trade Center. He was only one of the 2,996 US citizens and guests whose life was snuffed out on 9/11 by foreign Jihadist warriors. Their terrorist value system defined anywhere in the world they chose to strike as their battlefield, and men the calibre of Michael Grady Jacobs--who spent the last minutes of his life attempting to lead his co-workers to safety-- as their enemies. His life, which included his family, his work, his rebuilding of an old Volkswagen beetle, and learning to play the bagpipes was cruelly taken from him that 9/11 morning without cause, warning, or justification.

The online exhibits at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum tell the stories of many who survived the horrors in New York City just eight years ago. Do take a moment to visit, to remember Michael Grady Jacobs, his family including his four children and now a grandchild, the others who were brutally murdered, and the many thousands of others who are left with a life-long struggle resulting from a loved one's loss that terrible day.

This tribute is part of Project 2996, an online initiative which remembers the victims of the terrorist attacks upon the United States on 9/11/2001.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Call the Repair People--They are Waiting for Your Call

Today I have a tip which is a pretty good one. You know those jobs around the house that you have been meaning to call the repair man for, and dragged your feet? Call now! I have two situations, and the repair people can both come tomorrow! I suspect my experience might be pretty common. Think of it, getting something fixed without waiting for weeks on end, or carefully leafing through the calendar to find when one of the family can be at home. Really nice! Maybe better order will pull me out of the dumps I've been in today when I verified that no lifetime caps on insurance payments for the insured really is what the President said last night about health insurance. I thought surely that was my mind playing tricks on me, but no such luck.

No lifetime caps on insurance would spell the end to private-sector health insurance. No insurer can write business where there are no policy limits unless they are able to manufacture money out of thin air. An insurer that can't control its risks and exposures is a company that won't be there to pay your bills when you have them. One of the most important principles is that it is downright dangerous to deal with an insurance company that isn't making a healthy profit. Thanks to state regulation, those companies usually don't stay in business, which is a good thing for you and me.

So I am left wondering. Seeing that the insurance you are keeping because you like it will have no lifetime cap (hence no policy limits), your insurer will not survive short of the ability of the company to dip into the public treasury. This is so basic, it's hard to believe that President Obama could be advocating no limits, but its harder to believe that he is the hard-core redistributionist that would open the public treasury for whatever procedures clever doctors could dream up. Assuming that the President is not lying when he says he subscribes to the concept of private ownership and competition, is President Obama detached from reality, uninformed about economics, or trying to pull a fast one on the American people? There is no answer which gives any comfort at all.

Ronald Reagan Speaks Against Socialism

Let's not be carried away by the bullying of the current administration on healthcare, their snide comments and their ridicule of those who have differing viewpoints. From what I heard in the Obama speech last night, good luck with being able to keep your healthcare insurance if you like it; by the time the government is done changing the requirements on the insurer your boss won't be able to afford to buy you coverage. Sorry.

Obama and crew are exhibiting the same sort of magical thinking about available money that has plagued the unions for years. This resulted in the unions, aided by the tort lawyers, killing off American industry, although it was pretty much an accidental, (albeit foreseeable) death. Now the United States manufactures almost nothing. While this might have worked just fine while the economy was hopping, today the barriers to US manufacturing leave one less available path to recovery.

And don't buy the argument that government mandated health insurance is just like mandatory car insurance. Every American has the right not to own a car. Your only choice will be to emigrate or die. Are you willing to stand idly by while all of this happens? Don't believe the propaganda that everyone is getting on board for healthcare; every day more and more of the public is seeing that the government cure is worse than the disease.

Send a postcard: let your voice be heard!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

President's Salute is Improving

Today we have something nice to say about the President; his salute is improving! The President has made great progress since our concerns of last February. While he still has a ways to go, I think there is hope!

UPDATE: With excerpts of tonight's healthcare address, it looks as if President Obama may attempt a death sentence to insurance companies, or making keeping the plan you have so expensive it becomes a joke. Bottom line: Who knows? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama Speech to Students: Should Your Parents be Getting You Up at 4:30?

Parents would undoubtedly be far more trusting of an address by Barack Obama to schoolchildren if one of his most important goals as President--stated early--was NOT to begin to work on his reelection. It has become impossible to tell what is the work of government and what is a campaign appearance, and it should be no surprise that the public is confused.

Campaigning, not governing, is the President's favorite way to spend his time, and parents would be more trusting if the President appeared more diligent in doing his work. As it is, Obama's style is to rush through legislation that won't take effect for years, moving forward on an agenda that the average citizen really can't understand. His administration then labels questions about what he is doing as "silly," "stupid," or a "distraction," responding with haughtiness, or in the case of press secretary Robert Gibbs, maniacal laughter. Is it any wonder that one parent shown on last night's news--upon reflecting that her child would be required to listen to the President's address to students today--was in tears? The President even refuses to have the usual cabinet approved by the Senate--adding in extra, unconfirmed people with "cabinet-rank" and "czars." Members of the public are beginning to think that something fishy must be going on with the President.

I've read the Obama speech to students, and it seems all about striving and not about being a kid. Great things; what ever happened to just being above average? It's one thing to be a slacker; it's another to be neurotically driven. No doubt, it reflects the President's values, or at least what he thinks your family values should be.

One thing that did stand out in the speech was that the President reported getting up at 4:30 while he lived in Indonesia, an effort known in America mostly in its rural past. But, before you feel too terribly sorry for Barack Obama getting up so early, do consider that many of his friends were awakening at the very same time for pre-dawn fajr prayers, which take place before sunrise in Muslim homes, the time varying with the season.

UPDATE: When President Bush gave a speech to schoolchildren in 1991 the House held hearings!

Do you like the cute little picture of waking up for prayers? I do. I found it at Pixie's blog, who writes from Canada about fashion and Islam.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Labor Day Greetings

"[O]ne of the reasons Republicans are so against public sector employment is because they hate unions, and the public sector is the most unionized.

"'Government workers [are] nearly five times more likely to belong to a union than [are] private sector employees,' the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted."  

-excerpt from Unhappy Labor Day at The Progressive

Do you like he picture from the Labor Day Parade in 1942 in Detroit encouraging the purchase of union made goods? Good luck at finding much of anything made in the USA any more, much less with the union label. It's not lack of union shops, it's lack of domestic manufacturing. Don't you get excited when you have the choice of buying something actually made in America?

If unions protect you from very bad management, and government workers are 5 times more likely to belong to a union, what isn't to understand about the public resistance to government run healthcare? Personally, I wonder how much longer the President is going to beat the dead dog of national healthcare with a stick. The unions have spent years and years teaching the general public about evil bosses and the necessity of unionization, and now they are complaining that we learned our lessons well?

The talk of Republicans hating unions is a little quaint, don't you think? The only union-hating I ever found among Republicans was when the thought occurred  that their company could be unionized because they had failed their workers and were not good enough employers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Newsflash! Healthcare Now Protesters Clogging Skokie Street!

One of our younger family members just came in at 7:40 PM with the news that Healthcare Now! people (maybe 20) are gathering at Old Orchard (at the corner of Skokie Blvd. and Golf Rd.) with votive candles and clogging the stoplight island! It was a very unnerving experience as it was such a shock to see people in the street, just seeming to beg to be hit by an unsuspecting motorist. Not a smart way to see the emergency room.

Just Say No! No! to Hubby Hubby

Maybe Capitalism isn't dying as fast as I thought, or could it be behind the gay marriage movement? There is a lot to be sold for weddings of all types, including Hubby Hubby ice cream. Could it be all that marital celebration is just an excuse for all those health club devotees to let themselves go? Well, at least the containers are small.

While the carton is obviously a highly collectible piece of ephemera (available only for September, and possibly not everywhere), you have about as much chance of getting a scoop of this (or Chubby Hubby) at the Padena house as a shot of scotch. Ben and Jerry's--now owned by corporate giant Unilever--may have its standards, but we still have ours, too.