Sunday, July 31, 2005

Eliot Cohen: A Hawk Questions Himself as His Son Goes to War

Watched Eliot Cohen on c-span just discuss this column from the Post. He wrote,
....or that the under-planned, under-prepared and in some respects mis-manned Coalition Provisional Authority would seek to rebuild Iraq with big construction contracts awarded under federal acquisition regulations, rather than with small grants aimed at getting angry, bewildered young Iraqi men off the streets and into jobs.
I have long list of rejections for procurment/audit/financial jobs from the CPA, so maybe I have ax to grind here but let me grind it.

I thought application of full Federal Acquistion Reqs a huge mistake. It was the Administration kowtowing to fear of Democratic criticism of Halliburton and the Logcap contract process instead of thinking about reconstruction.

In fact, the model was set by one of the greatest Democrats: Grinnell College's (my school's) Harry Hopkins at the WPA, when he fought this battle with Harold Ickes Interior Department. Hopkins wanted to push money out in small projects to get people working without much regard for audits. Chicago's Ickes (a Liberal Republican by the way and father of today's Harold Ickes) wanted tightly regulated big projects which spent very slowley with much less impact.

We should have been pushing funds out much faster. Cohen's got some good analysis and he said on c-span the greatest fault lies with Congress for failing to investigate much.

Commodification with a human face

I'm stunned how quick many Democrats and Liberals latched on to stem cell research considering how they're otherwise railing against corporations and globalization. Ron Reagan presented it as pretty much you're for-us-or-a-bum issue at the Democratic convention in Boston,
In a few months, we will face a choice. Yes, between two candidates and two parties, but more than that. We have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity. We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. This is our moment, and we must not falter.

Here's an abstract from an English Comrade who despite the wordy Marxist jargon clearly sees where this could go without careful thought and supervison. I'm not sure it should be done at all regardless of benefits.
One effect of late capitalism--the commodification of practically everything--is to knock down the Chinese walls between the natural and productive realms, to use a Marxist framework. Women's labour in egg extraction and 'surrogate' motherhood might then be seen as what it is, labour which produces something of value. But this does not necessarily mean that women will benefit from the commodification of practically everything, in either North or South. In the newly developing biotechnologies involving stem cells, the reverse is more likely, particular given the the shortage in the North of the egg donors who will be increasingly necessary to therapeutic cloning. Although most of the ethical debate has focused on the status of the embryo, this is to define ethics with no reference to global or gender justice. There has been little or no debate about possible exploitation of women, particularly of ovum donors from the South. Countries of the South without national ethics committees or guidelines may be particularly vulnerable: although there is increasing awareness of the susceptibility of poorer countries to abuses in research ethics, very little has been written about how they might be affected by the enormously profitable new technologies exploiting human tissue. Even in the UK, although the new Medical Research Council guidelines make a good deal of the 'gift relationship', what they are actually about is commodification. If donors believe they are demonstrating altruism, but biotechnology firms and researchers use the discourse of commodity and profit, we have not 'incomplete commodification' but complete commodification with a plausibly human face.[my emphaisis]

The Church, The State, The Congressman from Illinois's First District

Given all we hear about Bush bringing a theocracy upon us, it's funny more people don't question Bobby Rush's involvment with the Church (he runs one).

Hastert and Rush will travel together to China during Congress's August break. I hope they talk about an opponent to Daley.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rauschenberger on Skoien's firing

Maybe if Skoien were a blogger, other bloggers would jump to his defence over at Capital Fax. Right now he seems to be thrown to the dogs and mocked by"lookists" (Skoien must be chubby although I've never seen him). No wonder we elect whacky people in Illinois if that's how we call shots.

Rauschenberger sees the root problem though,

Is it any wonder why Illinois ranks 47th in the nation as a place to locate or expand a business? In effect, what happened to Skoien sends a message to the professional business community that not only do you have to pay a premium to do business here to tithe the political combine but you also better go along with the graft and corruption and keep your mouth shut.

Ill GOP on Bean

Illionois GOP's e-mailed press release,
BEAN CAN'T RAISE CASH IN THE 8th. U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean (D-8 IL) has been raising a lot of campaign cash, the only problem is that only 7% of her individual contributors are from her district. In her Q2 FEC report, Bean raised more than $130,000 through liberal pro- choice fundraising conduit Emily's List out of Washington D.C. and over fifty percent from individuals outside of Illinois. "Melissa Bean needs to ask herself which group she wants to represent, the people of the 8th district or the people in Washington D.C.," Andy McKenna said, "The evident lack of support will catch up to her in the voting booth."
And then they're posting this by Eric Krol saying 91% of her itemeized donations come from out-of-state.
More than 92 percent of Bean’s individual itemized donors (those who have given $200 or more) were from outside the 8th Congressional District that Bean represents. They gave $162,000 of the $460,000 Bean collected.

Radical Islamic Terrorists don't like to be seen naked

Don't underestimate the humiliation they feel at being seen naked and captured. This is a huge blow to folks who thought this day would be heavenly glory and not naked in surrender on The Sun.

How they'll evaluate this defeat, I don't know.

Tomczak cops a plea

Tomczak agrees at paragraph 16 to cooperate with any Federal investigation as part of his plea agreement.
Tomczak worked for the city of Chicago for more than 35 years and spent his last 15 years as the First Deputy Commissioner of the city’s Department of Water.
Might be a long chat with Fitzgerald.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Unitarian-Universalism and Universal Democracy

A Unitarian-Universalist (note correction in first comment below) blogger finds Sen McCain and Sen Liebermans' Universal Democracy Act and wonders just how much Universalism we should ask for in the world. Perhaps we UUs only mean it for the hereafter many of us so skeptical about? (That would be truly cynical.)

This is the first I've heard of the bill, but it sounds like planning for the future. That's tough to do with the best of plans. Considering all the flak the administrations taken on planning, I like the provisions of what I read here.
The ADVANCE Democracy bill enshrines a fundamental lesson of September 11: where repression rules, the lack of political participation and economic opportunity engenders despair and even extremism in the hearts of some. Promoting democracy fulfills America's moral mandate and bolsters our national security. As the recent events in Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories illustrate so dramatically, the desire of people to live free is universal.

The ADVANCE Democracy bill would strengthen America's ability to promote democracy in a number of ways, including by:

* Establishing a new office of Democracy Movements and Transitions at the State Department and separate Regional Democracy Hubs at several embassies abroad;

*Creating a Democracy Promotion Advisory Board to provide outside expertise to the U.S. Government;

*Authorizing $250 million in increased funding for democracy promotion over two years;

*Requiring an annual report on democracy to include action plans to promote democracy in nondemocratic countries; and

*Providing training and incentives for State Department personnel in the promotion of democracy

Weekly Standard: A Document Request for Senator Schumer

Northwestern Law Prof Steven G. Calabresi writes,
Accordingly, Senate Republicans and the administration should call on Senator Schumer to immediately release and make public all conversations and emails between the senator and his staff, between Schumer staffers and outside left-wing advocacy groups, and between Schumer staffers themselves relating to the Roberts nomination. Schumer should also be required to release phone records of all telephone and cell phone calls that were placed between his office and outside advocacy groups since the Roberts
nomination.
***********
If Schumer is really committed to the cause of openness in government and of transparency, he will not hesitate to make available his internal office records as described above. If Schumer refuses to honor this request, then his opponents are entitled to reject the senator's request for the solicitor general's office documents on the grounds that he is applying a level of disclosure from executive branch officials that he is unwilling to live by himself.

Today's Sun Times: Firm fires GOP chairman for putting bounty on Daley

It's going to be tough times in Chicago...The company's top man, Mike Reschke, said he canned Skoien because the GOP chairman "crossed the line" when he offered a $10,000 cash reward to anyone providing information leading to the mayor's conviction in the wake of a widening probe into corruption at City Hall.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Belmont Club: Back of Beyond 2

The Belmont Club on the Failed State Index:
"The one possibility that Foreign Policy doesn't directly explore is whether the West itself is not in some way a failed state: purblind, self-deluding and paralyzed. From its dim past Euripides once warned, 'Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad.'"

MEMRI translations of Arab reformists on fighting terror

Interesting recent articles by Arab liberals and reformists on the recent terror attacks in Middle East Media Research Institute, including this by Mamoun Fandy on the impact of TV,
"Since 9/11, I have been reading and hearing the Egyptian media, and I cannot name five writers who condemn terrorism unequivocally... Is Cairo such a failure that it contains not a single man or woman who says 'no' to terrorism?...

"The terrorist discourse is first and foremost cheap television [programming]… The sizeable increase in the number of Arab satellite channels, and their keen aspiration to fill airtime, are the main reason for the growth of the fundamentalist stream.

Can't sleep; Rumsfeld, Oraiana Fallaci, and New Fusionism

A letter from London on Yahoo's Rumsfeld group that leaves me unsettled in the middle of the night,

Hello from London,

I went for a walk lastnight and on Edgware Road the radicals are still pitching up their tables with leaflets about the false religion, Christianity, and the fact that Israel and the USA are not regarded as terrorists but should be etc etc.There were several characters giving lectures about the only true religion being Islam; I am sure they were harmless but with the tension in this city, it is amazing that these people have the 'chutzpah' to preach like this.

I remember a member here a long time ago chastising me when I said I had seen stickers all over Edgware Road and in this area calling for the downfall of Israel, the USA and Blair. Nothing has upset me more in the past few years than people saying I 'imagine' or 'exaggerate' the anger and aggression of the young men from Hizba'ut Tahrir handing out their inciteful literature in Church Street market and in Edgware Road in recent years.

As Oriana Fallaci has said in 'Corriere delle Sera' this week, she was warning for four years of an outbreak of Jihad in Europe and 'nobody would listen.'

Please pray for us in the UK.
C

I can't find a English translation of Oraiana Fallaci's article in 'Corriere delle Sera'. Fallaci wrote The Rage and the Pride reviewed here in the Weekly Standard and here in NRO.

Fallaci is on trial now in Italy for "vilification" of "any religion admitted by the state" based on statements in a her subsequent Book: The Force of Reason.

She recently gave a great interview in WSJ including this great quote on Ratzinger which perfectly shows Joseph Buttom' s "New Fusionism",
"I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger." I had asked Ms. Fallaci whether there was any contemporary leader she admired, and Pope Benedict XVI was evidently a man in whom she reposed some trust. "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. It's that simple! There must be some human truth here that is beyond religion."

Ms. Fallaci, who made her name by interviewing numerous statesmen (and not a few tyrants), believes that ours is "an age without leaders. We stopped having leaders at the end of the 20th century." Of George Bush, she will concede only that he has "vigor," and that he is "obstinate" (in her book a compliment) and "gutsy. . . . Nobody obliged him to do anything about Terri Schiavo, or to take a stand on stem cells. But he did."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Fake Left

Kane County Democrats deleted this quote I posted on their website because they said it's copyrighted. As far as I can tell, it's not, so I'm posting it here.

As a postscript, Socialist is not a bad word or slur to me. We need more Socialists like Tony Blair and Peter Tatchell in this world. I'd gladly sing the Workers Flag is Deepest Red at a Labour Party confernce with them. Afterall, the Labour Party's favorite old song mentions Chicago.
Peter Tatchell (Human Rights campaigner, London)
We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called 'resistance' in Iraq. This 'resistance' uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi - stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn't care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.

Plane affair (again)

NRO's Clifford May wrote a good article: Who Exposed Secret Agent Plame?. The Kane County Dems started a thread on Plame and Rove and I posted I would be hasty judging Rove when we have Fitzgerald going to write the final story here. I suspect Clifford May is onto more of the truth, and I'm betting Fitzgerald indicts Wilson among others. We shall see.

Andy Stern on Global Unions

An interview from Feb 2005 with Andy Stern. This is a thoughful guy but one thing he needs to understand is George Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, Tony Blair, and John Howard are doing more to globalize human rights then anyone in the Democratic Party. Labor should support the fight.
What is an effective union strategy, given that we're living in a highly globalized economy?

The first key decision you have to make is whether what you said is true. I happen to think it is, which means you have to rethink everything. You're not thinking about a country anymore, but a world. You're not thinking any more about jobs people hold for a lifetime, or jobs that can't be be outsourced or can't have people come to the country and do them instead. The solution is not to go back and try to say we should have closed the borders. Or that NAFTA was a bad idea. Yes, it didn't do the job it was supposed to do, but it's here now. The question now is whether we can change NAFTA.

So you just have to suspend history as an anchor and make it more of a guidepost. You have to integrate it with what's happening in today's world. So then the question is how do you have global unions when you have global employers? How do you have global institutions that not just protect patents of big corporations, but also make sure that people get their environment protected, people get their wages protected? So we're just not protecting property, we're protecting people. That we globalize rights, not just globalize capitalism and finances.

The labor movement was created appropriately (for its time). We had local employers — whether they were in construction, or hotels, phone companies — that then went on to be, in many cases, regional, national, and now international. Unfortunately, we have not been growing in proportion to the growth of these enterprises. So we're falling farther and farther behind because they are changing in nature, and because we represent less and less [sic] workers in the private sector. Had we done nothing differently, companies becoming global makes us — the U.S. part — the smaller part of their overall enterprise. And that in itself makes us have less strength in dealing with them.

Gidwitz buys two tickets for Governor and spokesperson to attend Kane County Cougars game

via John Cross blog:
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ron Gidwitz today is sending two tickets to an upcoming Kane County Cougars game to Governor Rod Blagojevich and his spokesperson in an effort to acquaint them with the minor league baseball team in Geneva. Gidwitz will send the tickets to the Governor’s campaign headquarters in Chicago.
Westside agent, kids, and me go every July 4th for the fireworks show after the game.

Brady announced

Bill Brady's announced he's running too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection (or Chimp)

via Fedblog: The chimps deserve it.
Don't miss the Sunday NY Times Magazine report this week on Chimp Haven, the government's new retirement home for chimpanzees--most of whom were used for NASA projects or federally funded medical research. The chimps' quarters come "complete with fresh running water and cross-ventilation, multiple windows and skylights, hammocks made of neatly crosshatched sections of used fire hose, bedding of warm blankets and hay, vanity mirrors, as well as a TV, a VCR and DVD and CD players."

What shall Labor put in its place?

A comment on Andy Stern's blog says,
The fascinating thing about the split between the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition is that a significant segment of the labor movement finally seems to understand that the old New Deal model for generating wage premiums is obsolete. But what can a new labor movement put in its place?

I would submit that merely shifting more resources into organizing is not enough. You have to give non-union workers an incentive to join, and the traditional types of incentives just don't work in today's economy.
The writer gets it right but than falls apart with attacks on social parisates (used to be a name of a actual crime in Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Check Wikpedia for Parasitism as Social Offense.) concluding,
I think you can see where I'm going with this. If the labor movement is really ready to jettison its old way of doing things, it can think in terms of fighting the entire parasitic establishment (including those politicians that are on the AFL-CIO's payroll) and not just tinkering with the terms of exchange with their immediate employers.

Think big, and you can inspire people to act--and make it worth their while.
Think a little bigger than fighting parasitism, and contemplate services unions can provide cheaper collectively than workers can do for themselves. Organize workers to transition radical economic change. Don't build gulags.

Pelosi's Speech to AFL-CIO convention

Pelosi always seems a little vague on things to me, but always clear on what's in it for her,
Together, we're going to win control of the House of Representatives, elect the first woman speaker of the House, and we'll usher in a new era of victories for working people.
Pelosi's four-square with the sugar lobby against CAFTA in a city devastated but the lobby's protection of high priced sugar,
For decades, Chicago's West Side claimed the factories that bespoke the nation's diverse mid-century industrial might. The area boasted a Westinghouse plant and a Playskool factory. But high costs and outmoded facilities forced those companies to close. Last year, Brach's Confections announced that it, too, would shut down its sprawling brick-faced plant by 2004, throwing some 1,100 Chicago-area employees out of work.

The company, which for years had turned out StarBrite mints, Milk Maid caramels, and Maple Nut Goodies, said it may contract out the work to manufacturers in Mexico or Argentina.

Labor costs and the need for modern facilities played a role in the company's decision. But the picture is complicated by Brach's reliance on high-priced American sugar.

A review on the Gidwitz ads

Extreme Wisdom reviews the Gidwitz ads and comes to one conclusion I share,
But if Ron Gidwitz REALLY wants to do Illinois a favor, he should run against his buddy, the Mayor.

Now THAT would be a campaign I'd get behind.
Do the "The Magnificent Seven" read blogs?

Economist on Bush and Education

The Economist writes on a recent report published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress finding,
This year's report contained two striking results. The first is that America's nine-year-olds posted their best scores in reading and maths since the tests were introduced (in 1971 in reading and 1973 in maths). The second is that the gap between white students and minorities is narrowing. The nine-year-olds who made the biggest gains of all were blacks, traditionally the most educationally deprived group in American society.
While Bush can't claim full credit for the good news, it's attributable to the kind of "testing, transparency and accountability" Bush continued to implement on a National Scale. Economist says Bush style reforms lead to the improvements and will continue to do so if we stick with them. The challange is to the Democrats:
These results pose a new challenge to Mr Bush. He needs to move quickly to extend his reforms to America's high schools, now clearly exposed as the weakest link in the education chain. But they pose even bigger challenges for the Democratic Party. Democrats were once champions of education reform: Bill Clinton first attracted national attention with his reforms of schools in Arkansas. But since the passage of NCLB they have increasingly sided with an education establishment that is bent on defending the status quo from inconvenient reforms. This is surely both a mistake and an abuse of power. For it is now clear that at least some of those reforms offer a much better start in life to America's children, particularly the poorest.

Monday, July 25, 2005

IRAQ THE MODEL: Iraqi women discuss the constitution

Why doesn't MSM give us more on TV shows like this from Iraq? Maybe it would help Americans and the rest of the world understand what this war is all about.

IRAQ THE MODEL: Iraqi women discuss the constitution:
In the latest episode of 'Dostorna' (a program produced by the Iraqia TV and literally means 'our constitution) an interesting debate took place among Iraqi women; they discussed constitution, Share'at and how these subjects deal with women rights and needs and the difference in view points was actually obvious between secular/liberal women and religious/conservative women.

The show was attended by an exclusively female audience and questions were directed to the main characters of the show (4 women; 2 secular and 2 religious sitting against each other to the left and right of the stage.

The debate was direct and frank and dealt with many hot topics in Iraq which included controversial topics like hijab, basic freedoms (according to civil constitutions), equality between men and women and the percentage of women's representation in the National Assembly.

Gidwitz Commercials

Is Gidwitz getting his money's worth with these ads?

Labor Blogging: "building the new society within the shell of the old"

These words come right out of the 1905 preamble at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.
Labor's been stuck on the everyday struggle -often with other unions instead of management- or Democratic Party Politics and would do well building a little bit of the new society.

George Bush's ownership society ideas offer far more innovation than anything coming from the crowd of Democratic Party politicos speaking today and tomorrow at Navy Pier: Guests will include Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Former U.S. Senator John Edwards, Julian Bond, Senator Ted Kennedy, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Peter King (by video), Sen. Arlen Specter (by video), Senator Harry Reid, .... These names are not a list of builders of anything but their own careers. They haven't had a new idea, much less a radical idea, in their life. (Ok, verdict still out on Barack but he's done way too much talking about his supposed similarities with Lincoln for my taste, and not much substance to date).

There are lots of services Unions can offer workers besides a strike including managing ownership of their own assets and capital via ownership society ideas. Problem is building as opposed to tearing down can be hard work as we saw when the Unions abandoned Washburne Trade School,
In 1975, state Sen. Richard Newhouse persuaded the Illinois State Board of Education to cut off funds until school officials met a federal goal for minority enrollment. The move did little to stop the union exodus. Throughout the 1970s, apprentice programs such as those for plumbers, iron workers, cement masons and glaziers relocated.

In 1979, Washburne met federal enrollment standards and the funds were restored. But eight unions had left and the construction industry was mired in a recession, with unemployment reaching 22.3 percent by 1982.

The controversy continued after the 1980 federal decree to desegregate the public schools. A Chicago Board of Education demand in 1986 that enrollment mirror the city's population prompted the carpenters, pipe fitters and electricians unions to leave. Thomas Nayder, then-president of the Chicago Building Trades Council, was quoted as saying: "I get the feeling that they (the unions) think, 'Who needs all this hassle?'"
Sometimes fighting for Social Justice a hassle. You have to fight Islamic fascists in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have to tackle some hard educational in Chicago. A little clarity about who your friends and enemies are helps a whole lot. Bush is no enemy of labor. He's a radical and innovative guy. Take him up on the solutions and break the Democrats hold.

Labor Blogging: SEIU's Andy Stern's blog

At least Stern understands the world's changed and his goal is right,
The world has changed, the economy has changed, our employers have changed, our jobs have changed, and there is no way to have unions stay the same and be successful.

I believe that every leader of the AFL-CIO has the same goal that we do -- to insure that American workers have their hard work valued and rewarded.
But read the comments on his blog and you wonder if anyone has any notion of a new strategy.

Look at corporate Amercian and how often they change leaders. Look at how corporationg come and go so rapidly these days. Then look at how long Sweeny and some of these other Labor leaders have been on the job. Labor looks pretty sclerotic.

Labor Blogging: Iraqi Federation of Workers' Trade Unions

Here's an obit on Hadi Saleh from the IFWTU blog.
A group of five, most probably, ex-security men, broke into his house in Baghdad, waited for him in the dark and preyed on him the moment he stepped in. They killed three times: first they strangled him with a wire; second they riddled his body with bullets; lastly they burnt him. This was not an ordinary killing. Unlike show beheadings that mark ‘resistance’ in Iraq, this was a triple vengeance: in the 1970s Saleh was condemned to death for clandestine unionism, he was amnestied years later, now the Ba’ath security men working in clandestine for restoration reneged on their amnesty.

They also took vengeance for the successes Saleh achieved in rebuilding trade unions (The Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, IFTU) that stand now at some 200,000 membership, a formidable democratic social movement defying all sorts of fundamentalist, communal or other parochial identities. Lastly, they wanted to hush him and his colleagues who pursue a twin line of peaceful action for the restitution of Iraq’s sovereignty and building an all-inclusive, federal democracy.
The anti-war delegates at the AFL-CIO convention ought to recognize there wouldn't be 200,000 Iraqi's organized in Free Unions today without the US and our allies fighing and dying for the right to organize.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Rauschenblogger

Steve Rauschenberger has a blog now and allows comments. I think the impact of blogs on the Gov race would make a great project for an anspiring poli sci major. It takes some guts to allow comments (check my activity on the Kane County Democrats blog). Good for Raushenberger.

Don Rose on beating Daley

I've been thinking about Don Rose's article from the July 17, 2005 Trib for over a week now. Rose wrote,

But today, for many and varied reasons, white voters appear far more willing than ever before to support a prospective black mayoral candidate--a sign of the continuing reduction in racial-political animosities we saw in Barack Obama's remarkable sweep of all voting blocs in last year's Senate primary election.

****
Ironically, Daley himself contributed to this improvement in the city's race relations. He's made friends with most of the dissident black (and liberal) aldermen and appointed numerous blacks to high posts in both his personal staff and city departments. He supported others for high elective offices, from state's attorney to secretary of state to president of the Cook County Board. Democratic precinct captains who once dealt out the whole deck of race cards were forced to become agents of brotherhood in later elections. They can't call for a new deal now.

Talk about unintended consequences! Those pivotal white voters are looking at him more objectively, assessing whether it is more important to have a white mayor or a more honest one or simply a better manager. Unfortunately for Daley, the scandals backed him into a corner: If he is not viewed as personally corrupt, he is increasingly seen as responsible for the mounting misdeeds. If he is, as his admirers claim, a master of management, why hasn't he been able to stem the tsunami of corruption?
I've seen race tear the city apart. I found some of the recent tributes to older Daley glossed over his role in the city's more race relations.

You see that side better in books like American Pharaoh : Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation and learn from the Publishers Weekly review of it on the Amazon link,

Later, he ran the city in accordance with these values; the authors explain that he always assessed his options in terms of what would both enhance his power and encourage Chicagoans to stay in their proper place. Cohen (a senior writer at Time) and Taylor (literary editor and Sunday magazine editor of the Chicago Tribune) use the most famous crisis during his tenure, the 1968 Democratic convention, to illustrate how the mayor's rigid values dictated his actions--but more importantly, they say, his myopic passion for order worked together with his deep racism to shape modern Chicago. And, they argue, his legacy is a cultural legacy--through him, early 20th-century ethnic narrow-mindedness shaped everything from the character of Chicago politics to its landscape.
I sure remember the deep racism and thank the current Daley for helping change it.

But there is an unintended consequence as Rose finds. Daley loses the lock on the white vote because whites no longer scared to death by the "they're coming" rhetoric.

It's a better city now. But the best thing Daley could do now for Chicago is drop out of a race for reelection with his legacy intact, and open up the way for a healthier and competitive political environment.

The days of race politics are over, and the days of one-party politics should come to an end now too. Daley stepping aside would be the best start.

The Republicans offering and funding a credible candidate would be the second best thing.

Spontaneous Solutions: "The Magnificent Seven"

Greg Blankenship posts on the Illinois GOP leadership meeting to map a "...strategy to defeat Gov. Blagojevich by avoiding a suicidal seven-way GOP gubernatorial primary."

Is it too much to ask of the GOP to map a strategy for defeating Rich Daley too? Afterall, he seems sort of vulnerable. Maybe Gidwitz or Oberweis should move to the city and use some of their money to make Chicago a two party city.

I don't think that's out-of-line to ask. Better yet, use some of that money to help an African-American Republican to take on the Mayor.

Downstate Pundit: Faith Discrimination

Down State Pundit took issue with Philosophe Forum in post titled: Faith Discrimination. Here's the key quote from PF:
"None of the pundits & spinners have commented on the obvious issue: Judge Roberts is Catholic. Although he should not answer specific questions on issues that could come before the Court, he should respond to ideological questions. The man Rest assured -- he will use the mandates of Pope Benedict & Vatican II as the foundations for his future SCOTUS decisions."
I don't understand the Left's fear of the Pope in American politics. John Paul took a strong stand against Bush on Iraq and the Right didn't talk about mandates from the Vatican.

I'm not Catholic but I've always the Church's positions well-reasoned and they've helped me understand moral issues. Something true not only of the Vatican but of many faiths. That's how faith contributes to the political process. You don't agree with them on everything or anything, but they help you make your own decisions.

I think Rumsfeld felt that way about John Paul when he responded to Tim Russert this way.
Russert: There are many in the world asking for more time for negotiations, for diplomacy -- the Vatican -- the pope issued this statement: "Whoever decides that all peaceful means available under international law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his own conscience and history."

Rumsfeld: It's true.

Russert: And you accept that?

Rumsfeld: Indeed. It is a fair statement. War is the last choice. President Bush has said that repeatedly, and he has made every effort humanly possible to avoid it.

Russert: Yesterday in New York City and across --

Rumsfeld: Indeed, he gave a final ultimatum to avoid war: leave in 48 hours -- after exhausting every other step. He is -- I am sure very [few] people could disagree with what the pope said.

Russert: Yesterday in New York City, some 200,000 Americans took to the street and protested -- there's video -- across the world. What would you say to those protestors?

Rumsfeld: Well, I -- this is a free country -- people can have their own views, and they always have. In every war, there have been protestors. The American Firsters filled Madison Square Garden repeatedly with thousands of people before World War II while Europe was in flames, while millions of Jews were being killed, and the chant was, "Don't get involved in a war in Europe." It's a natural human reaction for people to want to avoid war.
If the Pope's mandate is each of us make our decisions in context of our responsibility before God, our conscience and history; than it's not a bad mandate at all.

A very good foundation for anyone's decisions because I know History judges, and for sure History will judge what's being said today. Just as History judges today what the America Firsters said in Maidson Square Garden.

Beware History's judgement though for I suspect God has far more mercy.

Respublica: Paul Simon museum opens

Respublica has some great photos of the opening of the Paul Simon museum. Sadly, to my knowledge, this was not covered in any Chicago papers.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Old Neigborhood

Found this picture of the Tavern / Liqour Store accross the street from the Jewel on Rosevelt Road in Berwyn. It's near where I grew up.

Really not much of a tavern. More of a store with a counter and a couple of stools. They still had Fox Head beer listed for sale on a black board over the beer cooler.

They also owned the Hole in the Wall Custard shop a few blocks away.  They would get you started in these tiny establishments as a kid, and you'd graduate to this place in College.

I don't think it's ever had a name. I believe it's still there.


Downloaded this from this site which is for a resort in Michigan's UP. This is why I love the web. Note the slide show on Chicago Hot Dog stands too including this picture of the Parky's just down the street. I believe it closed recently.

You can see Kings & Queens a little further down the street. They had a great Gyros sandwich and never closed except maybe for an hour or so in the AM to mop the floor.

The storefront in between was the office of Doctor Schreiber. He was our Doc, and I remember while I was in college, I would have to give him an accounting of all of my classes and my career plans after graduation.

He would tell me if my plans were no good. I wasn't terribly career oriented so got an earful from Doc Schrieber.

MDs don't take that kind of interest in the whole person anymore despite the talk of "holistic" health. Doc Schreiber would tell you so if you didn't seem to be taking school, career, and life seriously.

It was a different world then.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Army Times: Soldier survives attack; captures, medically treats sniper

Found in Army Times:
During a routine patrol in Baghdad June 2, Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was filmed by the insurgents.

Tschiderer, with E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he popped right back up, took cover and located the enemy’s position.

After tracking down the now-wounded sniper with a team from B Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, Tschiderer secured the terrorist with a pair of handcuffs and gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before.
Check the video here. Sen Durbin please note this American Soldier by training and instinct "...gave medical aid to the terrorist who’d tried to kill him just minutes before".

The Buck Stops Here: Roberts

The Buck Stops Here: Roberts:
"For what it's worth: A few years ago, Justice Scalia said to a friend of mine that he and other Justices thought of John Roberts as far and away the best Supreme Court litigator in the country. I asked the friend why Justice Scalia said that, and (paraphrasing from my memory) the answer was something like this: 'No matter how intense the questioning, Roberts is never flustered, and is always able to calmly answer any question whatsoever, while skillfully weaving in the substantive points that he wanted to make in the first place.'"
It's a true gift if Robert can really do this. (And the contrast with most Senators should be jarring!) Should make for some great hearings.

Durbin Watch

Respublica is keeping track of Durbin's comments on the Robert's confirmation starting with Durbin's comment on "main stream" values.

Durbin's been paddling himself up a creek lately and maybe that's what he means with the stream mumbo jumbo.

The liberal bloggers threw "Go F**K Yourself" Durbin out of the canoe after Durbin back tracked on his US Troops as Nazi thugs comment. So watching him talk himself to the edge of the waterfall should be fun.

More fun if Durbin wasn't make Illinois look so sad in the process.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Nine Old Men

Forget liberal and conservative; strict-constructionist vs whatever... there's something unsettling when one of the nine-old men is a guy younger than me.

Prime Minister Blair's Speech

The following is the text of the speech delivered by Prime Minister Tony Blair on Saturday, July 16, 2005.
The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with. What we witnessed in London last Thursday week was not an aberrant act. It was not random. It was not a product of particular local circumstances in West Yorkshire. Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organisers. It had a purpose. It was done according to a plan. It was meant.

What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilisations. All civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it. This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others.

This ideology and the violence that is inherent in it did not start a few years ago in response to a particular policy. Over the past 12 years, Al Qaeda and its associates have attacked 26 countries, killed thousands of people, many of them Muslims. They have networks in virtually every major country and thousands of fellow travellers. They are well-financed. Look at their web-sites. They aren’t unsophisticated in their propaganda. They recruit however and whoever they can and with success.

Neither is it true that they have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them. They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and Government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one Caliphate of all Muslim nations.

We don’t have to wonder what type of country those states would be. Afghanistan was such a state. Girls put out of school. Women denied even rudimentary rights. People living in abject poverty and oppression. All of it justified by reference to religious faith.

The 20th century showed how powerful political ideologies could be. This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity. But do not let us underestimate it or dismiss it. Those who kill in its name believe genuinely that in doing it, they do God’s work; they go to paradise.

From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology:

Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology.

The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased. You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty.

Just as great is their hatred for so-called apostate Governments in Muslim countries. This is why mainstream Muslims are also regarded as legitimate targets.

At last year’s Party Conference I talked about this ideology in these terms:

Its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life. This is what we are up against. It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.

The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature; it exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world; as if it is our behaviour that should change; that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil; that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order.

Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can’t be moderated. It can’t be remedied. It has to be stood up to. And, of course, they will use any issue that is a matter of dissent within our democracy. But we should lay bare the almost-devilish logic behind such manipulation.

If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?

If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi Government?

What was September 11 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb and the election of a new Spanish Government, were they planning another atrocity when caught? Why if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them, do they kill so many with such callous indifference? We must pull this up by its roots. Within Britain, we must join up with our Muslims community to take on the extremists. Worldwide we should confront it everywhere it exists.

Next week I and other party leaders will meet key members of the Muslim community. Out of it I hope we can get agreed action to take this common fight forward. I want also to work with other nations to promote the true face of Islam world-wide. Round the world, there are conferences already being held, numerous inter-faith dialogues in place but we need to bring all of these activities together and give them focus.

We must be clear about how we win this struggle. We should take what security measures we can. But let us not kid ourselves. In the end, it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat. That means not just arguing against their terrorism but their politics and their perversion of religious faith. It means exposing as the rubbish it is, the propaganda about America and its allies wanting to punish Muslims or eradicate Islam. It means championing our values of freedom, tolerance and respect for others. It means explaining why the suppression of women and the disdain for democracy are wrong. The idea that elected Governments are the preserve of those of any other faith or culture is insulting and wrong. Muslims believe in democracy just as much as any other faith and given the chance, show it.

We must step up the urgency of our efforts. Here and abroad the times the terrorists have succeeded are all too well known. Less known are the times they have been foiled. The human life destroyed we can see. The billions of dollars every nation now spends is huge and growing. And they kill without limit. They murdered over 50 innocent people last week. But it could have been over 500. And had it been, they would have rejoiced.

The spirit of our age is one in which the prejudices of the past are put behind us, where our diversity is our strength. It is this which is under attack. Moderates are not moderate through weakness but through strength. Now is the time to show it in defence of our common values.

The Belmont Club: Everybody Comes to Rick's

The Belmont Club: Everybody Comes to Rick's

Belmont Club links Unite Against Terror from the UK and this quote from Peter Tatchell who sums up my feelings on what's happened to the left.
"We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left-wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim
cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called 'resistance' in Iraq. This 'resistance' uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi - stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn't care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism. [Baar's emphasis]"

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Place Where We Live: Park District WPA Murals Undergoing Restoration

The Place Where We Live: Park District WPA Murals Undergoing Restoration

I like WPA murals and found this link on restorations going on in Chicago.

Arlene Spector's dignified proceedings in the Senate

I just heard Arlene Spector on the news say Bush had to nominate a consensus nominee to insure a "dignified proceeding" in the Senate's hearings.

So if Bush nominates a non-consensus candidate will get an undignified spectacle instead? Somehow I think that's what we'll get regardless of who Bush nominates.

McCain's movies

The morality of McCain appearing in Wedding Crashers no concern for me. I worry about how the rest of the world construes a potential leader of the world's most powerful country appearing in a 'boobfest' film.

The greatest danger in the world is others misunderstanding our summer goofiness for lack of resolve.

Jonathan V. Last wrote in his preview of next week's Weekly Standard that,
The Financial Times reports that a Chinese general, Zhu Chenghu, recently told a gathering of foreign journalists that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against America if the United States were to take any action against "Chinese territory." Said General Zhu: "If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons."
We just can't afford US Senators appearing in summer teen flicks in this kind of world.

Galley Slaves: Religion of Peace?

Galley Slaves: Diana West op ed in the Wash Post:
"She [Diana West] confronts head-on what even the hawkish leaders in the war on terrorism are afraid of: The 'Religion of Peace' problem. In the war on terror is the root cause a tiny, tiny sect or a brand of religion which has yet to undergo a reformation and is in many ways incompatible with modernity?"
Also check the link to the essay in First Things added in the first anon comment.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Buck Stops Here: The Supreme Court and Bush's "Base"

The Buck Stops Here: The Supreme Court and Bush's "Base" Stuart Buck hits another nail on the head. It's more then the "Base" Bush made a promise too during the election.

Iraqi PM Ibrahim Al-Ja'fari: "The Iraqi People Pay the Toll in Blood On Behalf of All Nations Facing Terrorism"

via Middle East Media Research:
"Iraq has lost many victims, so much so that we have the right to call it the land of the martyrs, because there is not a single Iraqi home that has not lost a martyr. However, this will not diminish our strength. On the contrary, we will be more determined to work toward creating a glorious future for Iraq.

"The end of the Saddam Hussein nightmare was due to the will of the Iraqi people, and without this will the regime would not have fallen by the arms of the American forces [alone]. It is the wills of peoples that bring change, and henceforth the wheel of time will not go backward. The age of the cult of personality and of tragedies has ended.

"We have all paid the toll for dictatorship and the absence of democracy for a long period of time. Saddam had dispersed us all over the world. And here is Iraq, a home returning to its own owners after it was looted. But we have to look at things as they are, not as we would like them to be."

Ja'fari warned that the culture of bloodletting that, in his words, characterized the Saddam regime, "has now been adopted by the remaining elements of the [Saddam] regime, who declare: 'Either we govern Iraq or we burn it.'

"Terrorism in Iraq is an example of terrorism in the world. What happens in our country is a challenge for the whole world… to stand by our side, because the Iraqi citizen is paying with his blood confronting terrorism... There was no defined geography for terrorism… and the response should be consistent with the crimes of terrorists in Iraq." [1]

Two days after the interview, Dr. al-Ja'fari said that the Iraqi people "are paying the toll in blood on behalf of all the nations facing terrorism... Certain areas in Saudi Arabia send terrorists to Iraq through Syria, but we distinguish between the Saudi state and the efforts of these [men]." [2]

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

WSJ today on Rove the whistle blower

WSJ on Rove today. I'm betting no crime committed with Plame's outing but Fitzgerald following a cover up / purjury charge against someone covering up a Democratic politico in cahoots with folks at CIA (not to mention the nepotism). That's my bet.
Democrats and most of the Beltway press corps are baying for Karl Rove's head over his role in exposing a case of CIA nepotism involving Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. On the contrary, we'd say the White House political guru deserves a prize--perhaps the next iteration of the "Truth-Telling" award that The Nation magazine bestowed upon Mr. Wilson before the Senate Intelligence Committee exposed him as a fraud.

For Mr. Rove is turning out to be the real "whistleblower" in this whole sorry pseudo-scandal. He's the one who warned Time's Matthew Cooper and other reporters to be wary of Mr. Wilson's credibility. He's the one who told the press the truth that Mr. Wilson had been recommended for the CIA consulting gig by his wife, not by Vice President Dick Cheney as Mr. Wilson was asserting on the airwaves. In short, Mr. Rove provided important background so Americans could understand that Mr. Wilson wasn't a whistleblower but was a partisan trying to discredit the Iraq War in an election campaign. Thank you, Mr.Rove.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

MEMRI: Iranian Dissident Ganji in Letter Smuggled from Prison

via Middle East Media Research:

Watch Iran. Farsi the fourth most popular language for blogs. People stirring over there.
"Islamic Prosecutor [Mortazavi] speaks openly of my death in prison. He told my wife: 'What if Ganji dies [in prison]? Dozens die in our jails every day; perhaps Ganji will be one of them.'

"What the Islamic prosecutor doesn't know is that Ganji may die, but the love of freedom, and the thirst for political justice will never die. Ganji may die, but humanism and the love of one's fellow man, and the hope and expectations for a better future, will never die.

"I will spend my time in solitary, but my heart will continue to beat for freedom. And some of the time I will hear prisoners cry for the windows of their solitary cells to be opened, to let the sun in."

Durbin's aid Joe Shoemaker sees an IRS audit for Move America Forward because of ads critical of Durbin

via Marathon Pundit.

Northwest Herald quoted Durbin's aid Joe Shoemaker saying,
"Have you ever seen that H &R Block commercial where the guy leans in and says, 'I see an audit'?" Shoemaker asked.
as Durbin's response to Move America Forward's ad (view here) stating,
The Move America Forward ad states that U.S. troops are not torturers and asks people to visit the group's Web site. Its news release said it would call for Durbin's resignation.
Sounds close to Article two of Nixon's Impeachment.

Byron York on L'Affaire Plame

York writes on it too, and points out Rove waived any privilege 18 months ago, so what in the world Cooper and Miller were waiting for baffling.

My bet is the real story is a politicized CIA covering up it's own intelligence failures while staff fiddle in politics and lobby for jobs in a Democratic administration they think they can help elect.

IlliniPundit.com - L'Affaire Plame

IlliniPundit writes the only Carl Rove posts we'll see.

Check the pundit's link to the five whys. I think when truth be known on this story, the scary fact will be the CIA's out of control.

Belmont Clubs Two Points of View

Belmont Club writesTwo Points of View describing the War on Terror as a blood-feud from the Terrorists perspective, and something that could transform from a War into a blood-feud from our perspective too.

I feared Kerry's and the Democrat's "War of Last Resort" would eventually result in a blood-feud mentality in the US. Wait for another attack to rouse Americans to go out for vengeance. It's how today's anti-war movement could give us tomorrow's catastrophe for the Arab world.
'The feud is eternal.' Hence, the Jihad, unlike the war waged by the West, can never be surrendered. Only the West can surrender. But blogs like In a State of Flux, though guilty of Ledeen's indictment of narrowness, are an important indicator that the feud is becoming symmetrical. Western citizens are still focused on the 'larger issues' but personal loss and anger are making the war less abstract. They want to find particular people who attacked them on specific occasions for the purpose of visiting upon them individual punishment. For many, the war is no longer business, it's personal.

One route to victory, the ugly route, is to match the entropy within Islamic societies with a corresponding entropy within the West. The rising resentment against Islamic immigrants in Europe and the growing willingness in the West to see Islam and even Muslims as the enemy, are all early signs of the transformation of war into a corresponding blood feud. One of the constant themes of the Belmont Club is how this development is undesirable because it will, at the limit, result in the destruction of Islamic society and make us all murderers. The alternative route chosen by President Bush, but only half-heartedly pursued by mainstream politicians, is to decrease entropy within the Islamic world by making those countries functional, modern and free so that the 'blood feud' concept becomes as anachronistic in Riyadh as it is in Cleveland.

Peggy Noonan, Obama, and Abe Lincoln

Peggy Noonan had a hard time with Barak's musings on Lincoln too.
This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he's a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. "In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat--in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles."

Oh. So that's what Lincoln's for. Actually Lincoln's life is a lot like Mr. Obama's. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.

Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton's first campaign for the presidency.

You see the similarities.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bin Laden's Strategy

From Slate today: The terrorist plot to destroy democracy from within by William Saletan
Now comes the message to "the British people" that "the British government" has brought more death on them. It's Blair's fault. It's Bush's fault. Turn against them, and the pain will stop. But it won't. As yesterday's message made clear, the bombers want us out of Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

Bin Laden's whole game plan is to turn the people of the democratic world against their governments. He thinks democracies are weak because their people, who are more easily frightened than their governments, can bring those governments down. He doesn't understand that this flexibility—and this trust—are why democracies will live, while he will die. Many of us didn't vote for Bush's government or Blair's. But we're loyal to them, in part because we were given a voice in choosing them. And if we don't like our governments, we can vote them out. We can't vote out terrorists. We can only kill them.

Roskam, Grover Norquist, and radical Islam

Rich Miller writes about and event Peter Roskam is planning with Grover Norquist: The Capitol Fax Blog: Quick follow-up

...read Rich's link on Frank Gaffney's article in Front Page on activities with the Islamist Fifth Column, and Michelle Malkin's WHAT SAY YOU NOW, GROVER NORQUIST?

Please watch out who appear with Mr. Roskam.

Fourth Navy Seal found

via yahoo:
The body of the fourth U.S. Navy SEAL was found Sunday in Kunar province by a search and rescue team, the military said in a statement. It said all indications are that he died in fighting, despite a claim by Mullah Latif Hakimi, a purported Taliban spokesman, that he was captured alive and beheaded.

"The location and disposition of the service member's remains indicate he died while fighting off enemy terrorists on or about June 28," the statement said.

U.S. military spokesman Col. James Yonts repeatedly denied Hakimi's claims.

"There have been claims of being dropped on a mountain wearing red clothes, there have been claims of being beheaded," he said. But "there was no indication supporting the claims. ... This individual was never in custody, he was never defamed or disgraced."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bush, gambling, and faith in the universality of human liberty

More intersiting blogging on Faith and what Liberalism has ceded to Conservatives in the war on totalitarian Islam. Read the whole post, this is a good blog with good analysis, but here is a key quote:
The Belmont Club: Oh Say Can You See: "One possibility is that Reagan and Bush possessed a faith in the universality of human liberty that Kennedy and Clinton did not. It was one thing to coldly deduce that China could be reached by sailing westward from Europe, but it took Columbus to stake one's fate on it. Ignatieff sees this, but cannot bring himself to admit it. Missionary endeavors require a kind of faith. A kind of action in advance of the result. The Canadians and Europeans would not come on those terms and so we should not be surprised that they have not come at all."

Second Fronts

Good discussion on invading Iraq as a strategy in the war on terror.
The Belmont Club: Iraq and London: "But the practice of engaging an enemy on one front to weaken him on another has been tested from antiquity and is more natural than the alternative. The idea that fighting the enemy makes him stronger everywhere is a curious one and I've often wondered about the battlefield arithmetic that would make it possible. There are many who accept without question the proposition that the US Armed forces are being 'bled dry' in Iraq; that it has become over extended. They would accept, without reservation, the idea that using the US Army in Iraq would weaken it with respect to Korea. One Swedish researcher kept writing to me privately, 'proving' from all kinds of weird arithmetic that the USMC had been annihilated in Fallujah. Yet the very same persons will vehemently reject the idea that Al Qaeda can also be spread thin; that its cadres are subject to death as wastage; it is as if one set of natural laws operated for the Jihad and another for the blundering Americans. But mental honesty will compel us to accept that this can't be true: that the sun rises and sets on one man as for another: that if we thought about it really hard, everyone who lives peacefully in a Western city owes it to the men out on patrol tonight." [my empahsis]

Galley Slaves: It Takes Two

Interesting take on having two vacancies to fill on the court.

Galley Slaves: It Takes Two:
"Even if the president wanted to nominate a moderate like Alberto Gonzales, having two vacancies makes it very difficult for him to do so. My guess is, having the second seat open turns the Court from being a sticky wicket into a huge winner for Republicans (provided Bush picks smart, clean people)."

Sen Durbin, please comment on beheading of American serviceman

This story makes page 7 of the Tribune.
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- A purported Taliban spokesman said Saturday that the group has beheaded a missing American commando, but he offered no proof, and the U.S. military said it was still searching for the Navy SEAL.

The commando is the last of a four-member team that went missing June 28 in Kunar province, near the Pakistani border. One of the men was rescued, and two others were found dead.

"This morning in Shagal district in Kunar province, the Taliban killed the American soldier and cut his head off," said Mullah Latif Hakimi, the purported spokesman. "We left the body on a mountainside in this area so Afghan or U.S. soldiers there can find it."

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara said the search for the commando was continuing. "We will run down these reports to see if anything pans out."
I can't tell on what page the Washington Post put the story but the Taliban said this per the AP and the Post,
When asked for evidence of the commando's death, Hakimi said, "the proof will be when the Americans find his body."

Hakimi said earlier this week that the rebels would release a video, but he made no mention of that Saturday.
So MSM doesn't give an execution of an American serviceman much prominence because they're waiting for confirmation? That doesn't stop them on false stories of torture at Gitmo, or Bush's service record. Or maybe MSM fears this will incite American's against local Muslims? (I doubt Americans would react that way.)

I'm at a loss to understand this. What have you done to our sense or patriotism Sen Durbin? You tell Americans we're no different to Hitler and Stalin so were ashamed to feel indication when our own prisoners brutally murdered? You make Americans believe we deserve this.

I hope this story untrue. It would be helpful to know the condition of the bodies recovered. I'm certain DoD withholds details on atrocities to protect families. They shouldn't. Americans need to know this.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sen Durbin and the Taliban's announcement they'll execute our Navy SEAL today

Here's yesterday's DoD briefing on detainee health care services in Gitmo, and here is the Taliban's Mullah Latif Hakimi's statement on their intent to execute a Navy SEAL they claim to have captured.

How can you not tell the difference between the conduct of your fellow citzens and the thugs we fight in Afganistan Sen Durbin? How can you face your fellow Americans now?
Speaking from an undisclosed location on Friday, Hakimi told Reuters he was unable to provide the name or a description of the commando due to difficulties contacting guerrillas holding him.

However, he insisted: "The soldier is with us.

"He is alive, but we will kill him in the coming couple of days. We are interrogating him and that is why we have kept him alive. The interrogation is about American military tactics and their operations."

He repeated that a video of the man would be provided to media organisations. He said the Taliban Web site -- www.alemarah.com -- on which the guerrillas intended to post pictures of the commando, had been blocked by the Americans.

Anti-Muslim hysteria and our Sen Durbin

Woke up to hear Spike O'Dell reading an e-mail from someone in Chicago saying not all Muslims are terrorists, and Muslims shouldn't strike out at innocents because of the decisions of world leaders. Muslims who killed in London aren't real Muslims.

The reader left unsaid if an attack on world leaders would have been ok. Spike thanked the befuddled listener for an appalling comment that apparently went right past Spike.

The largely Muslim people of Baghdad have been dying daily under these terror attacks. There's no anti-Muslim hysteria in the US. On the contrary, our soldiers, civil servants, and contractors have been dying alongside our Muslim allies in the war on terror in Iraq, Afganistan, and throughout the world all along.

Britian's Stop the War Coalition writes in response to the London attack, "We urge everyone to resist any attempts which may be made to use these crimes to stir up anti-Muslim hysteria or attack the Muslim population of this country".

STWC smears the British people with a charge of potential anti-Muslim hysteria, when in fact the British Army along with the Iraqi Army is fighting terrorists in Iraq who really murder Muslim clerics, blow up Muslim Mosques, slaughter Muslims on the street with car bombs.

The people who do our Muslim allies great harm are defeatist like Sen Durbin and the STWC who slander America and our Allies -including Muslim Allies- in a war against terrorists who are killing Muslims wholesale in the streets; including the streets of London now.

Durbin and the rest turn their backs on atrocities and barbarism in the name of peace. He and his like are the greatest threat to Muslim people.

Rumsfeld statement on London

It's a good one.

The final paragraphs:

Though it is not yet known with certainty precisely who is responsible, we do know terrorists’ intentions. They strike without warning and without regard for human life in the hope that they can frighten and intimidate free people -- to change our way of life. And they won't stop until their side or our side has prevailed.

But if these terrorists thought they could intimidate the people of a great nation, they picked the wrong people and the wrong nation. For generations, tyrants, fascists, and terrorists have sought to carry out their violent designs upon the British people only to founder upon its unrelenting shores.

Before long, I suspect that those responsible for these acts will encounter British steel. Their kind of steel has an uncommon strength. It does not bend or break.

The British have learned from history that this kind of evil must be confronted. It cannot be appeased. Our two countries understand well that once a people give in to terrorists’ demands, whatever they are, their demands will grow.

The British people are determined and resolute. And I know the people of the United States are proud to stand at their side.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mayor of London via Andrew Sullivan

via AA:

From the Left Wing Mayor of London. Words I hope our left remembers when they start hurling the "No War for Oil", and "No War for Halliburton's profit" accusations at Bush. It's an attack on workers because it's an attack to damage our economies. An attack by people who hate us and would anniliate us if they could.
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack... I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail."

Bush's Words

Bush via Galley Slaves:
"The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London and what's taking place here is incredibly vivid to me. On the one hand, we have people here who are working to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand, you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill -- those who have got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."

Intelligence Failures

from Billings Gazette,
"We do not have any intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the United States," Roehrkasse said.

I don't know what's the difference between a plan and a deep desire to anniliate us. Don't need intelligence to see that.

More Blair responding to terrorist attack on London

“It is important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire impose extremism on the world,”
via FT

I wish Sen Durbin shared Blair's moral clarity. It's not something just for conservatives. It's appalling anyone would think otherwise.

Blair Comments on London terror attack

Can't find a transcript but pieced this together from AP story.
"Each of the countries around that table has some experience of the effects of terrorism and all the leaders, as they will indicate a little bit later, share our resolution to defeat this terrorism,"

"It's particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, the long-term problems of climate change and the environment."

"Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack or a series of terrorist attacks, it's also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G-8,"

"Whatever they do it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and other civilized nations throughout the world,"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Milt's File on Gitmo

A report on Gitmo found on Milt's File from someone who made a visit (Unlike Dick Durbin).

If you find yourself ever interviewing someone for a job, ask them how they manage mistakes. How they respond is revealing. You'll realize a good way to judge a person or institution is how they manage mistakes.

Sick of Durbin

I get the Daily Hearld but just skipped the interview with Durbin. I'm just sick of the man. Then I read this via Marathon Pundit:

Q. (Eric Krol) So do you see this as almost an orchestrated attack on you …

A. (Senator Durbin) Oh, it definitely was.

Q. …or do you see it as the media really doesn’t know what they’re doing?

A. It’s an orchestrated right-wing attack that brings the mainstream media in. If they make enough noise. Here’s how they do it: go into a press conference in Washington and the guy stands in the back from Fox and just screams the same question over and over and over again to the point where the other reporters are, my God.

Q. How did they bring (Democratic Chicago) Mayor Daley in?

A. Bob Novak (Syndicated conservative columnist) . He came to Chicago one Monday and had lunch or a meeting with the mayor. Told him his side of the story. And unfortunately, the mayor didn’t know that we had put out a statement the Friday before about this and he made some statements along those lines. He’s also the father of a young soldier training to be a Ranger. I’m sure he felt extremely sensitive about that. We talked about it afterward. I don’t think he knew the whole story.

Have you no shame Sen Durbin? Can't you at least credit the people of Illinois for honest indigation at the calculated insults you made? No one orchestrates us. I'm no right winger. I voted Democratic from McGovern through Gore, and you've destroyed any hope of my ever voting Democratic again. Go, please go. Resign now.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime - part 2

previous If you can't do the time, don't do the crime

Looks like there were at least two leakers: a kind one who released Cooper from a pledge of confidentiality; and a hard one, who leaked to Miller and doesn't seem inclined to spring her from a stint in the joint. Note if I recall correctly, everyone on Bush's staff released Cooper and Miller from any pledges long ago.
via Drudge: "I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source's identity secret.

As for Miller, unless she decides to talk, she will be held until the grand jury ends its work in October. The judge speculated that Miller's confinement might cause her source to give her a more specific waiver of confidentiality, as did Cooper's.

Billy Lombardo and Dressel's Whipped Cream Cakes

The Wallace Playlot
Somewhere east of Bridgeport, the summer sun rises each day like bread dough, and sixteen hours later, west of St. David's, it settles neatly into the last sidewalk crack in the world like a big yellow nickel. Between these risings and settings, it bakes the Wallace Playlot into cornmeal yellow and plays with the shadows of boys.

Across the street, two floors above the swinging white sign of Dressel's Bakery, my mother calls me home from our living room window. Her voice is soft and high-pitched, and her lips move in the shape of my name.


Above are the first two paragraphs from some short fiction by Bridgeport writer Billy Lombardo.

Last Sunday's Trib had a review of his book The Logic of a Rose: Chicago Stories.

That was the first I had heard of Lombardo but I'll run out and buy his book and add him to my small collection of books by Chicago authors.

I have all of Stuart Dybek's books although sometimes I find him tough going. He's a little too surreal for me sometimes. Saul Bellow outside of the Adventures of Augie March has no appeal for me either.

Farrell's Studs Lannigan I enjoyed but mostly because I knew guys like Studs (in fact I knew a guy named Studs) growing up in south Oak Park in the 1960s.

What catches me with Chicago books are the occasional references to something I knew, and in Lombardo's writing, it's his memory of Dressel's Bakery and Dressel's whipped cream cakes.

I'd eat these cakes frozen as a kid --in their entirity-- and kept it up right through bachelorhood when my idea of a relaxing weekend was making a pot of chicken-noodle soup and finishing off my meal with one of those Dressel's cakes for dessert.

Guess I'm not literary.

Osama Bin Laden's Brother Interviewed by Al-Arabiya TV

via Middle East Media Research Institute:

Presenter: "Was he religious? Your former wife wrote in her book that he refused to look at her face."

Yaslam bin Laden: "Yes, I think it's true. He did not like to listen to music or to watch TV, and he prevented his children from doing so. I thought that was odd."

Presenter: "You didn't discuss this with him?"

Yaslam bin Laden: "He can do what he wants in his home, as I can in mine."

Presenter: "Was he charismatic?"

Yaslam bin Laden: "He was still young then. We were all young."

Presenter: "Do you think he's dead?"

Yaslam bin Laden: "No, I don't."

Presenter: "How do you know he's not dead? Where is Osama bin Laden then? The great America, which occupied two countries, or you could even say the entire world, has not yet managed to find Osama bin Laden."

Yaslam bin Laden: "You should ask them."

Rumsfeld on Durbin

from Secretary of Defense Radio Interview with Scott Hennen, 970 WDAY:

Hennen: You mentioned the quagmire reference. The other one of course is Senator Durbin's comments about our forces guarding terrorists down at Guantanamo Bay. I mean you call it encouragement, but I've had listeners who suggest it's giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Is it?

Rumsfeld: Well you know, I think to have compared the wonderful work being done by the young men and women in uniform down in Guantanamo Bay, in that facility, where hundreds of members of House and Senate and from the journalist community have visited and seen for themselves that it's being handled in a highly professional way. Where the International Committee of the Red Cross was in residence for a long period of time, and has full access to it today, and anyone who had any interest in knowing what was going on down there, had an opportunity to know what was going on down there, and anyone who saw what was going on concluded that it was being very well run. Over 400 visits by a thousand national and international journalists, lawyers for the detainees, 11 Senators and 77 Congressmen have been down there. I think to compare it with Pot Pol and the Soviet Gulag was just terribly unfortunate.

Hennen: Are we doing enough to counter all that? I know you have a fabulous web site out there, AmericaSupportsYou.mil. We talk about it all the time. But do the men and women of the armed forces feel the support of this country? And is it enough to overcome that kind of noise?

Rumsfeld: Of course Senator Durbin's remarks were on Al-Jazeera within 15 seconds almost it seems, and they travel all the way around the world, and people all over the world see a United States Senator saying the things he said which were simply not true. That's harmful.

Now the AmericaSupportsYou.mil web site and the help that the American people have been giving to these wonderful young women in uniform, young men and women in uniform who are doing such a superb job in Afghanistan, in Iraq, here in the United States and elsewhere around the world, I think the support has been so encouraging to them, and I must say I am deeply grateful to the President for mentioning it, for you for mentioning it, for the hundreds of thousands of people who have gone to the web site and found ways they can personally be helpful. It does mean a lot to the troops and we are very grateful to them.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Obama at least understood I was writing about Gitmo and Durbin; not Iraq

Obama at least wrote a real letter. I know what Durbin meant though. Durbin thinks he can bring back 1968 and he should have sense enough to remember where that took the party. Rich Daley seemed too remember.

Dear Bill:

Thank you for contacting me about comments made by Senator Durbin in reference to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo. I appreciate having the benefit of your perspective on this issue and fully understand your concern.

I know this recent episode has pained Senator Durbin a great deal. And I recognize that each and every one of us is going to make a mistake once in a while or say something that doesn't appropriately describe what we meant. What we hope is that our track record of service will override whatever particular mistake we make.

I believe Senator Durbin has established himself as someone who cares deeply about our veterans and our troops, and I am grateful he had the courage to stand up on the Senate floor and acknowledge that he should have said what he meant differently. I accept the sincerity of his apology, and I note that other senators, including Sen. John McCain who was critical of Sen. Durbin's initial remarks but who applauded him for making "a heartfelt statement, one of apology," and said before the full Senate that Senator Durbin "did the right thing, the courageous thing and I believe we can put this issue behind us." I agree with Senator McCain's advice.

Thank you again for contacting me.


Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

I write Durbin about his comments on Gitmo. Durbin writes back on war in Iraq

I wrote Durbin complianing about his comments on the troops guarding terrorists caught in Afganistan at Gitmo, and Durbin writes me back talking all about Iraq. And he writes a whole lot.

The best way to get out of a war Senator is to win it.

July 5, 2005

Mr. Bill Baar

Dear Mr. Baar:

Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Iraq.
I appreciate hearing from you.


I believe risking the lives of our men and women in uniform by going towar should be our last option, to be used only when all other options fail. I did not feel we had reached that point when the President committed our troops to war, nor did I support the Congressional resolution authorizing a unilateral war against Iraq. Far too many of ourmen and women in uniform have died in this war, including many from our own Illinois communities who serve in the National Guard and Reserves. My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives in this endeavor, as well as to the many other Americansoldiers who have suffered life-changing injuries.

It is clear we were not prepared for the situation we face today. Inaddition to the loss of life, this war is costing us more than $1.5 billion a week. Yet, even though the Congress gave the Administration every dollar it requested, too many soldiers have traveled the dangerous roads of Iraq in inadequately armored Humvees, with widespread reports of soldiers lacking vital equipment such as protective body armor and modern defensive equipment on helicopters. The failure to properly equip our military personnel is unconscionable. I have pressed hard for the deployment of up-armored Humvees and the best equipment we can give our forces. I also worked successfully to increase the level of combat pay we provide to our troops and have fought to make up the salary difference
forfederal employees who take a pay cut when they are mobilized to performactive
service as a member of the National Guard or Reserve, just as manystate and local governments and private companies have done for theiremployees.


The sad truth is that, from the beginning, the Bush
Administration discounted any evidence that did not fit with its view that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to the United States and that Iraq could be easily rid of him and turned into a democracy. It is clear that the main reasons offered for going to war with Iraq -– that its possession of weapons of mass destruction and its close ties to global terrorist groups represented an imminent threat to the United States -– were gross exaggerations.Similarly, Administration officials greatly underestimated thedifficulties associated with the post-war occupation and reconstruction ofIraq. Despite warnings from both internal and independent experts, BushAdministration officials insisted that U.S. troops would be welcomed asliberators and reconstruction would not place a financial drain on theU.S. Treasury. The reality has been quite different, and the Bush Administration's unilateralist policies have left the United States bearing the bulk of the costs -- in human lives as well as financial resources.


Unfortunately, it is easier to get into a war than to get out of one. Setting a timetable for withdrawal is not prudent at this time, but I cannot accept the Administration's failure to establish a clear plan toend the conflict and return our troops home. President Bush has taken America to war without enough troops to secure Iraq or a comprehensiveplan to win the peace. Vice President Cheney's recent declaration that theinsurgency was in its last throes has not been confirmed by a singlemilitary leader and is challenged every day with new reports of liveslost.

America has invested too much and lost too many soldiers to turn its back on the people of Iraq. We cannot cut and run and leave chaos in our wake, but we cannot achieve our goal of a safe and stable Iraq until the President puts forward a comprehensive plan for success and a clear strategy for how we will achieve it. That is the President'sresponsibility to every American soldier. And it is Congress'responsibility to insist that he do so.

In pursuit of one element of that goal, I introduced an amendment to the 2005 supplemental spending bill to require the Administration to provide Congress with regular, comprehensive assessments of the progress being made in training and equipping Iraqi security forces. This measure, which was adopted as part of the emergency appropriations bill, directs the Pentagon to report to Congress every 90 days on the estimated strength of the Iraqi insurgency; the status of efforts to recruit, train, and equip Iraqi security forces; and Iraq's progress toward achieving important milestones toward political stability. In addition, the reports shallinclude an assessment of how many U.S. forces will be needed in Iraq in 6,12, and 18 months.

The sooner the new Iraqi government is able to stand on its own andresponsibly govern the people of Iraq, with a trained and fully functioning security force, the sooner we can bring the tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers there back home to their families. I will continue to do all I can in support of efforts to achieve this goal. Thank you again for your message. I will be sure to keep your concernsin mind as this situation develops further.

Sincerely, Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator