Friday, December 28, 2012

Grim milestone: Austin shooting apparently 500th homicide in Chicago

Grim milestone: Austin shooting apparently 500th homicide in Chicago

The West Side pushes the City over the 500 mark.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Pakistan's loneliest church celebrates Christmas in Taliban country

Merry Christmas to you all…. 

(Reuters) - This Christmas, pastor Nazir Alam will stoke up a fire, lay a fresh cloth on the altar and welcome parishioners as they arrive at his church in Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area known as an al-Qaeda haven.

"The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best," said 60-year-old Alam, a former missionary who has celebrated his last ten Christmases there. "There's not much left to do but to pray and rejoice."

Outsiders might see little cause for joy. Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for minorities, says London-based watchdog Minority Rights Group International. Christians, Shiite Muslims and Ahmadis are victims of a rising tide of deadly attacks.

Pakistan's loneliest church celebrates Christmas in Taliban country | Reuters

Monday, December 24, 2012

تلبيسة مجزرة حقيقية ودمار هائل من القصف الجوي +18 24-12-201

WARNING Very Graphic... Air Raid civilians in Talbesih, Syria. Assad's crossed Obama's Red Line with chemical attacks. What will he do?


Ansar al Sharia Tunisia releases pictures of FBI agents - The Long War Journal

Ansar al Sharia Tunisia releases pictures of FBI agents - The Long War Journal

For those who thought GWOT was over.


A media outlet for Ansar al Sharia Tunisia has released pictures purportedly showing three FBI agents who interviewed Ali al Harzi, a suspect in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The release of the pictures on jihadist forums was first noticed by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The US government had been seeking access to Harzi for more than two months, since he was arrested in Turkey and deported to his native Tunisia in October. Harzi's lawyer told the Associated Press yesterday (Dec. 22) that the FBI had finally been given permission to interview him.
The interview last three hours and was conducted in front of the judge hearing Harzi's case, with the help of a Moroccan translator.


Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/12/ansar_al_sharia_tuni_1.php#ixzz2FytafFR8

Rep. Tim Scott On Fiscal Cliff: "Onus Right Now Is On Senator Reid" And Obama


Poisonous gas sprayed in Homs leaves seven people dead and scores affected, activists say - Al Jazeera Blogs

Poisonous gas sprayed in Homs leaves seven people dead and scores affected, activists say - Al Jazeera Blogs


حمص المحاصرةاطلاق غازات كيماوية مشلة للاعصاب وفقدان مؤقت للبصر


Assad's starting to use his chemical weapons.....




Update: The conclusion from Osen-Hunter's analysis of the videos (pdf file):
While by no means certain and harkening back to caveats mentioned earlier, information on hand suggests that the chemical agent used to kill 7 in Homs, Syria, was likely Chlorine Gas, Cyanogen Chloride (CK) or Phosgene Gas (CG). This is apreliminary estimate that will likely change as more evidence comes in.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Second City Cop: More Hypocrisy (from Mayor Emanuel)

A comment to SCC found worthy as a post all its own on the SCC blog (link) at bottom.  Newtown a crisis not to be wasted an instead used to divert attention away from Chicago’s murder rate?

SCC, check this one out: WLS radio 890am: Jim Johnson, station reporter, reported that Mayor Emanuel was " outraged" that the NRA suggested putting trained armed security/police officers in all schools in response to the recent shooting at the Newtown elementary school.

Oh, outraged huh? Gee, if he's soooo outraged, then why doesn't he pull his kids out of the LAB School at the U of C campus. Guess the 2 U of C armed police officers that work the Lab School everyday just make for such a scary and unsafe environment. Oh wait, if he did that then he just might have to enroll his kids in the local CPS school by his house!?!?! Wait, that can't happen. CPS is just good enough for the peasants kids but not for his little angels. Double standard hypocrite.

Read the rest here: Second City Cop: More Hypocrisy

Barickman discusses veto session - Pontiac, IL - Pontiac Daily Leader - Pontiac, IL

Barickman discusses veto session - Pontiac, IL - Pontiac Daily Leader - Pontiac, IL

The new Senator for Illinois's 53rd District discusses the effects of one-party rule in Illinois; and one party pretty much in the hands of one man: Speaker Mike Madigan.
"There is definitely a feeling that when this type of control is exerted, that it seems to be almost anti-democratic because most people in the state feel like, whatever the issue of the day is, you're going to win some and you're going to lose some, but so long as you have the opportunity to be heard, it makes the sting of losing a little bit less because you feel like you had your day up there. Again, on this issue, we thought we had the votes, but we weren't even allowed the opportunity. It's extremely frustrating," Barickman stated. "(Dwight) Mayor (Bill) Wilkey was in Springfield quite frequently through the spring session and at other times and he was there on one of the days where the frustration kind of boiled over. He saw it and asked me about it and unfortunately this is too often the way things are handled in Springfield. Single party and single person control resulting in very frustrated chamber and frustrated group of individuals trying to represent their districts." Barickman said that, even though the status of Dwight Correctional Center and the other facilities slated for closure are very important, there were other issues that were skipped over during the fall session.

"Dwight is not the only important issue that our state government is failing to address. Our state government has a backlog of $8 billion in bills. We're all in Springfield, it would seem like an opportune time to talk about how we're going to remedy that situation, but again, when the speaker says, 'We're adjourned,' then we're adjourned and we can all leave and have our water cooler conversations about how frustrating the process is and how we think that we ought to be dealing with a whole number of issues. At the end of the day, he calls those shots," he said.

Government by shot caller is Illinois. We'll get same sex marriage for a busted state cause that's the Democrat's priorities. All thanks to Mike Madigan.

Obama uses Inouye eulogy to retell his childhood visit to Chicago fairy tale — again (Updated) « Hoocoodanode?

Nice post on Obama’s Inouye eulogy.  Inouye as a footnote in Obama’s life story, and a story that goes through revision after revision at that.

Read it here at Hoocoodanode: Obama uses Inouye eulogy to retell his childhood visit to Chicago fairy tale — again (Updated) « Hoocoodanode?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EPA's “Richard Windsor"


Feels like we're governed by the Katzenjammer Kids.  Via Politico,
“The EPA inspector general wants some answers about Lisa Jackson’s EPA email account in the name of ‘Richard Windsor.’ The Environmental Protection Agency administrator’s email nom de plume is now officially the subject of an audit by the agency’s inspector general, which received a congressional request to probe EPA’s management of its electronic records.” 

Chicago Daily Observer » Do we have the Dates Correct? As pFitz Dives in Illinois’ Pay to Play Swamp.

CDO’s timeline ending with Patrick Fitzgerald’s new job with Skadden and former Obama Council Greg Craig.  Curious timeline I’d say,

November 3 2008: Barack Obama Elected President

November 3, 2008: Tom Balanoff negotiates sale of Senate seat with Rod Blagojevich

Blagojevich met with a labor union official who said he was in contact with Obama and had suggested his adviser Valerie Jarrett be appointed to the Senate seat.

December 1, 2008: Obama meets Blagojevich in Philadelphia

December 8, 2008: Emanuel called Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris again and later told the FBI that Obama said on Dec. 7 that he was concerned about Senate Candidate D being appointed. Someone from the Tribune tells Blagojevich that the Feds are taping him

December 9, 2008: Blagojevich arrested at his home

December 11, 2008: Obama claims no contact with Blagojevich administration, neglecting to mention Tom Balanoff or Rahm Emanuel

Dec 23 2008: Emanuel leaves the country on a “long planned” family trip to Africa

December 24, 2008: White House counsel Greg Craig releases results of his “internal investigation” and declares that Everybody behaved appropriately in the Obama Administration’s negotiations to buy the Senate Seat.

Jan 27, 2010: Skadden Arps hires Greg Craig

August 17, 2010 Mistrial declared in Blagojevich first trial.

June 27, 2011 Blagojevich convicted in second trial

October 22, 2012 Patrick Fitgerald Hired by Skadden Arps working for Greg Craig.

Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Do we have the Dates Correct? As pFitz Dives in Illinois’ Pay to Play Swamp.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hillary in Hiding

Hillary in Hiding

Sick to her stomach...  sure. Daren Jonescu wonders over at American Thinker; link above.

Maywood Illinois's Year without Murders

Few took notice of Maywood's year without murder.  Here's the Trib story, and below a clip from WGN.  No complicated solution implemented in Maywood, just solid police work.  A thought that crossed my mind listening to Chicago's McCarthy ramble on... maybe he should just talk to his peers in Maywood, about how to solve violence in Chicago.  A task seemingly quite beyond him.
 

The Rezko's finances and that $625k to purchase that lot by the Obamas

Dr. Fortunee Massuda filed a suit earlier this month (pdf file) alleging Tony Rezko bilked her in excess of $4 million

In June of 2006, knowing that Tony Rezko, the managing member of Rezko Enterprises and PE Chicago, was under severe financial and legal distress, and desperate for funds, Panda Express (among other improper actions) bought out PE Chicago’s 50% interest inthe Rezko-Citadel partnership at a price many times less than the fair value of that interest. At the time of the purchase, Panda Express knew that Dr. Massuda and others had significant ownership interests in PE Chicago. In fact, about two months before the Defendants purchased PE Chicago’s 50% interest in the Rezko-Citadel partnership, Dr. Massuda directly contacted Defendants and inquired about selling her interest in Enterprises, the LLC that wholly owned and managed PE Chicago. Despite knowing of Dr. Massuda’s interest in Enterprises, Defendants conspired with Tony Rezko to acquire PE Chicago’s entire interest in the Rezko-Citadel partnership and at a price far less than the fair value of such interest, and to funnel the proceeds of the transaction to Rezko personally thereby depriving PE Chicago, and those with interests in PE Chicago, of the money to which they were rightfully due. As a result of the improper actions of the Defendants, Dr. Massuda has suffered damages in excess of $4 million.

Just a year earlier Rita Rezko had borrowed $500k to buy that lot next to the Obama's.
The home and lot sales closed on June 15, 2005. A land trust controlled by the Obamas bought the house for $1.65 million, and the Obamas secured a $1.32 million mortgage from Northern Trust to complete that purchase. That same day, Rezko's wife, Rita Rezko, bought the side lot for $625,000. A $37,000- a-year Cook County employee, she secured a $500,000 mortgage from Mutual Bank of Harvey.
Read the whole suit, but it sure seems Tony and Rita were living on borrowed money for a long time and curious Rita Rezko could get a half-million dollar loan in 2006 to purchase a lot.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chicago Daily Observer » Another Pot of Gold Awaits Saviano in 2013

Russ Steward on Skip Saviano’s future.  He has one least his defeat at Mike Madigan’s hands left anyone worried.

Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Another Pot of Gold Awaits Saviano in 2013

West Side Orioles S.A.C.

A poster in the Giordano's restaurant in Algonquin, Illinois.  I was there last night for a Christmas party.  They have many Chicago themed posters including this one for a concert at the New Lawndale Hall, 2619 S. Lawndale Ave featuring Joe Pat and his Orchestra.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chicago Daily Observer: Anita Alvarez and the Relentless Pursuit of a Whistleblower

Heck…  60 Minutes should have asked Anita Alvarez about the Annabel Melongo case,  Cook County’s long held political prisoner.

The story with archive over at CDO here: Chicago Daily Observer » Blog Archive » Anita Alvarez and the Relentless Pursuit of a Whistleblower

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez calls recent 60 Minutes report a ‘misrepresentation of the facts’ - Chicago Sun-Times

I’m puzzled why Alvarez went on sixty minutes in the first place.  Would be interesting to know who from CBS invited her and who may have suggested why this was a good idea for her to go.  It’s curious how the media have dumped on her so quickly.   Zorn here for example, when after all, this is sort of old news about her: The Reader last March.

Plenty going on in the not so background to ferret out.

The Sun Times on Alvarez’s letter to CBS. I mean, what in the world was she expecting from CBS?

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez called a recent “60 Minutes” report on false confessions in the Chicago area a “misrepresentation of the facts” and sent a letter to the chairman of CBS News.

Byron Pitts interviewed Alvarez six months ago for the segment “Chicago: The False Confession Capital,” a piece about Cook County leading the nation in false confessions that aired nationally Sunday night on CBS. It featured high-profile murder cases where teenage boys falsely confessed and were later exonerated by DNA evidence.

The rest of the ST here: State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez calls recent 60 Minutes report a ‘misrepresentation of the facts’ - Chicago Sun-Times

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Gregory B. Craig, and that darn White House Internal Investigative Report on Blagojevich and the Senate Seat

A presser from Skadden: Former U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald Joins Skadden’s Chicago Office | Skadden

Good buddy Jiri tells me Fitz will be working for former White House counsel 
Gregory B. Craig:  the legal beagle who wrote  "internal investigative" report where President Obama absolved himself of trying to bribe Blagojevich, because he never completed the deal.

It sure looks like Pay to Play world now.


Pain Continues after War for American Drone Pilot - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Big Media writes little on the Drone Wars. (“Peace Movement” gone quiet too.)  A good story from Der Spiegel on how it works, and the toll it takes on those waging it.

For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.

Pain Continues after War for American Drone Pilot - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Sunny and Gene

From the West Side’s literary scene, a blog of Arlene Jone’s latest novel.  She tells me she has another in the works.

Sunny and Gene - A novel

Some people spend their entire lifetime searching for their soulmate. When Eugene Adam Walsh, Jr. met the love of his life, Sundiata Albizu Marshall, it was in the hospital nursery on the day that they were born.

Their love story should have been a fairy tale romance for life with a happily ever after ending.

Over two decades later, a news story printed in BlackSide Press Newspaper tests their love to the breaking point. Can their love survive a secret so devastating that it rocks not only their lives but the entire country as well?
Visit Arlene’s blog here: Sunny and Gene

Cicero leader, allies tossed off town electoral board

Cicero leader, allies tossed off town electoral board

The ever fascinating world of Cicero politics.  Prez Larry Dominick and crew kicked off Cicero's electoral board by a judge.

Rod Blagojevich to be released from prison ( that is IPTP wonders)

Rod Blagojevich to be released from prison

Or so Illinois Pay to Play speculates.  This does sort of make you wonder,
The deafening silence you hear from Rod Blagojevich's legal team in the midst of John Chase and Jeff Coen running around town saying that they have listened to the never made public wiretap tapes, and that there is nothing on them, says it all, the deal is done.
This is the same legal team that consumed Blago's $3,000,000. campaign fund in his first trial, running around town screaming the tapes will prove Blago's innocent if only the people could hear them all.
Listen to what Sam Adam Jr. had to say on Dec 8, 2011, no doubt before the back-room negotiations were concluded. 
Did Sam Adam, Jr. mean, if only John Chase and Jeff Coen could hear them his client would be exonerated?
Curious to see who ends up backing Sam Adam Jr if he runs in IL2nd.

A message to Russia and China from Liberated Kafranbel, Syria

A banner from Syria.  H/T Like for Syria |ي لايك لأجل سور on FaceBook.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Beachwood Reporter - The Senate Report On CIA Interrogations You May Never See

A report we may not see.  Curious if it will comment on our Take No Prisoners approach to getting away from the is water-boarding torture issue.  It’s classified number, but my skimming of the blogosphere shows something like 2,000 drone kills of AQ members.  That doesn’t include collaterals.

Over at the (without mention of Take No Prisoners: The Beachwood Reporter - The Senate Report On CIA Interrogations You May Never See

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Susan Rice withdraws name from Secretary of State consideration

Susan Rice withdraws name from Secretary of State consideration

Way too many questions about Benghazi and African Dictators out there for the WH to risk having her on the Hill under oath.

More Signs of Rate Shock and Awe | The Health Care Blog

Robert Lazsewski writes,
Last week, I reported on my informal survey of health insurance companies and their estimate for how much rates will rise on account of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  
Today, there are press reports quoting the CEO of Aetna with their estimate. The Aetna estimate is worse than mine.

The rest of it here: More Signs of Rate Shock and Awe | The Health Care Blog

I think individual insurance just disappears alltogether, and soon.  It’s not worth selling and Insurers who saw big profits coming from these sales will be disappointed, the young folks are headed for Medicaid (a program ill equipped operationally or financially to accept them). Lazsewski writes further on,
I can also tell you that, so far, I have detected no serious effort on the part of Democrats to delay anything. Frankly, I think hard core supporters of the new health law and the administration are in denial about what is coming.  
I expect more health insurers to be echoing the Aetna’s comments in coming weeks. There is a real concern in the industry they need to get out ahead of this telling people why rates are shooting up to counter the “shoot the messenger” attacks that will be sure to come.

You bet the shoot the messenger attacks are about to come!  The Democrats who wrote this evolving law aren’t about to take ownership of the bad outcome. They’re bailing already.  Soon they’ll be looking for scapegoats.  The Blues, and Aetna are the targets.

Update: The reason why for sceptics.

Fiscal Cliff Creates Problems That Don't Faze Obama | RealClearPolitics

Michael Barone in RCP,

Is Barack Obama bluffing when he threatens to go over the fiscal cliff if Republicans refuse to agree to higher tax rates on high earners? Some analysts think so. Keith Hennessey, a former top staffer for the Bush White House and Senate Republicans and a veteran of budget negotiations, argues that Obama's whole second term would be blighted if he allows the fiscal cliff tax increases and...

Read the rest here: Fiscal Cliff Creates Problems That Don't Faze Obama | Comments | RealClearPolitics

And my comment,

I live in suburban Chicago and I'm certain the President wants to go over the cliff. Not so much for the reasons given here. Those require imagination and especially imagination outside of politics. Obama will go over the cliff because he thinks it's good politics. The electorate will fault the GOP and deliver Democrats the House in 2014. It's a very Illinois Regular Democratic way to think. These guys think politics 27 hours a day, and they're very good at it; but it's all they think about too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Syrian jihadists, including al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front, form Mujahideen Shura Council - The Long War Journal

Syrian jihadists, including al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front, form Mujahideen Shura Council - The Long War Journal

Wonder what the odds are they'll lay their hands on Assad's Sarin?

Illinois House Speaker Madigan shedding staffers — what gives? - Blogs On Politics - Crain's Chicago Business

Greg Heinz speculates on an “unusual” number of Madigan staffers leaving the Speaker’s employ. 

First comment back to GH is: How can you take seriously a story about staffers leaving without naming even one of the staffers?
Read more:

Illinois House Speaker Madigan shedding staffers — what gives? - Blogs On Politics - Crain's Chicago Business

No kidding, what say you GH?  More facts and less speculation awfully helpful on any story involving our enigmatic Speaker.

Thieves cashing in on sewer covers

Watch your step in the Near West Burbs.  Hoods are pilfering covers from manholes. A misstep and you’ll go down.

According to a release issued by North Riverside Police Chief Anthony Garvey, several local municipalities including Westchester, Broadview, Forest Park, and Hillside have reported thefts of metal sewer covers in early December.

H/T Mark News Online, link here: Thieves cashing in on sewer covers

Shaker Masri of Chicago gets 10 years in overseas terorrism plot - chicagotribune.com

And Joe Walsh took a hit from Democrats and Media for saying Chicago had it’s own home grown Jihadis?

At one point during the sentencing Tuesday, Masri raised a hand and asked to speak after prosecutors had just described his jihadist ideology. After conferring with his attorneys, though, Masri chose to remain silent.


Later, when formally given the opportunity to address the judge, he responded, "No, thank you."

Shaker Masri of Chicago gets 10 years in overseas terorrism plot - chicagotribune.com

18 Democratic senators (including Dick Durbin) buck Harry Reid on Obamacare tax | The Daily Caller

The DC called this a revolt on its facebook posting of this article (link to full story at the bottom of this post) but I don’t agree.  I believe Durbin and the rest here voted or supported a knowingly bad piece of legislation because they view it not as law, but as a living statute that will constantly be open to reinterpretation and revision.  Changes for sure that will be driven by the interests and needs of “stakeholders”.  The special interests that will trump the interests of patients and providers. 

In this case the stakeholder is the Medical Device Industry objecting to the 2% tax ACA imposed on Medical Devices.  A rightful protest in my opinion, but just one of many changes that will be asked of this evolving rather than settled piece of law.  ACA invites bureaucracy and special interests into a huge Medical Government Industrial complex.  Patients will be the least of stakeholders in this mess.

Eighteen Democratic U.S. Senators and senators-elect sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week calling for a “delay in the implementation” of the medical device tax in Obamacare, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The provision was an integral part of the version of the Obamacare law, which was passed in the Senate under Reid’s stewardship in 2009. It is set to take effect on January 1, 2013.

An effort to repeal the provision failed in Congress in June. At the time, Reid characterized the proposed repeal as a Republican attack on Obamacare.

“The medical technology industry directly employs over 400,000 people in the United States and is responsible for a total of two million high-skilled manufacturing jobs. … With this year quickly drawing to a close, the medical device industry has received little guidance about how to comply with the tax — causing significant uncertainty and confusion for businesses,” according to the letter. “We urge you to support delaying enactment of this provision in a fiscally responsible manner.”

18 Democratic senators buck Harry Reid on Obamacare tax | The Daily Caller

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cutting Up AFP Tent on Michigan Capitol Lawn

They look like a really bright bunch...


More from Lansing at AFP's tent....


 

Americans For Properity's Tent torn down at Right To Work Rally

Unionists not doing themselves any favors here.....


U.S. Attorney’s Office claims author’s of Blagojevich book “Golden” lying

U.S. Attorney’s Office claims author’s of Blagojevich book “Golden” lying

Ernie Souchak on the strange case of the Trib's access to Blagojevich tapes.  Access no one was supposed to have.

Chicago Past: Archive

Some amazing pictures here.  A few don’t seem so Past to me either. Blogroll this site tonight.

Chicago Past: Archive

No second term for Winfield village president - DailyHerald.com

Political Hardball in Winfield….

Citing a difficulty working with four of Winfield’s six trustees, Village President Deborah Birutis says she won’t seek re-election in April. And she’s already endorsing someone for the race.

And the link here: No second term for Winfield village president - DailyHerald.com

I’ve always wanted to blog more on local stuff, but it can get awfully bitter, and the closer to home, the more likely I know those involved.

This from the blog of one of those running for Mayor,

Why "We Are Winfield" as the theme motivating my focus to become Winfield Village President? Winfield is becoming a highly polarized political environment and it is carrying over into our neighborhoods, friendships and the local news. Most citizens have read the papers, read the blogs, talked to neighbors or surely seen signs in yards about community trust. Neighborhoods and individuals get stereotyped into opposing groups, one side over another, by marginalizing assumptions. The need to control the dialogue, to be right at all cost, to be heard instead of listening, drives debate and problem solving into ultimatums leaving no room for ideas in progress.

And the divides almost always around issues of development.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Community Beat: Trail Prospect: Rail Viaduct in Englewood

Another one of those abandoned railroad embankments like the Bloomingdale line that seems a natural for development.

Community Beat: Trail Prospect: Rail Viaduct in Englewood

The Crandominium & The Shoreline: the grandes dames of 67th Street

A nice post on some of the grand COOP buildings facing Jackson Park on 67th Street.  The blogger got inside one of them and posted some great shots of the views.

The Crandominium & The Shoreline: the grandes dames of 67th Street | reallyboring.net

The Sebelius Coverup and the growing Government / Medical Industry Complex

A must read for Progressives fund of quoting Eisenhower on the Military Industrial Complex.  Today American has a Government / Medical Industry Complex and the Weekly Standard unravels the ungly interconnections here: The Sebelius Coverup

The only thing the Standard missed was United Healthcare's connection with AARP (and the likes of Illinois Health Matters which seems AARP funded to me) which even some Democrats are shuddering over.

Update: Seems the Democratic Underground pulled down the discussion on United Health Insurance and AARP.  More underground than we realize those Dems.

Will Illinois Employers get amnesty for illegal hiring?

Per Reuters below, these Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants will be visually distinct,

The measure would extend to undocumented immigrants Illinois' existing temporary visitor driver's license, used by legal immigrants. The licenses are "visually distinct" from ordinary licenses, with a purple background and the words "not valid for identification" on the front, explained Lawrence Benito, chief executive of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

I’m wondering if an employer, who requires a valid drivers licenses from an employee, and is presented with one of these visually distinct cards we’ll receive some kind of amnesty if he/she hires this undocumented person.

The penalties for doing hiring an undocumented pretty stiff, and criminal, not some civil fine. 

A recent example from Arizona in the case of Ivan Hardt,

Matthew Allen, chief of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, said in a written statement that Hardt's sentence should serve as a warning to other employers.


"Hiring unlawful workers not only fuels illegal immigration and perpetuates a shadow economy, but it negatively impacts job opportunities for our nation's lawful work force," Allen said.


The U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona, which prosecuted the case, had no immediate comment on Hardt's sentence.


Piccarreta said Hardt had no previous criminal record and that he and his office manager have since attended classes held by federal immigration authorities in an effort to ensure that his business is following immigration and employment laws.


Authorities alleged that Sun Dry Wall & Stucco underreported its number of employees to federal inspectors and that some workers were found to have fraudulent work documents. They also said the company's management was on the lookout for undercover immigration agents and that the firm's president and one of its foremen used two-way radios to communicate about the whereabouts of immigration agents.

An Illinois contractor who asks an employee to show a Drivers Licenses before letting that employee drive the company truck in a bind here if presented with one of these visibly different licenses. 

So just what in the heck is John Cullerton expecting an employer to to here to protect themselves from criminal liability?

ObamaCareTax to hit job creators

From a Boston Herald Editorial today,

The Internal Revenue Service released its final rules last week on that Obamacare medical device tax that is expected to hit Massachusetts like a freight train. And, yes, it’s every bit as bad as we expected.

Knowing how hard it will hit some locally-based firms in this innovation-driven region, even some members of the state’s all-Democrat House delegation have pledged to work for repeal (the House has already voted for repeal, but the Senate has not). But barring repeal, the tax is set to kick in on Jan. 1 and raise at least $29 billion over the next decade.

So while state lawmakers are attempting to control health care costs in this state, the new federal tax will increase the costs of everything from tongue depressors to pacemakers.

Link here: Tax to hit job creators - BostonHerald.com

ACA looks ever more like a piece of legislation at war with itself. Every problem it solves begets a new problem, and the newer ones ever more intractable. This thing collapses on itself but destroys a good chunk of our healthcare industry before it goes.

Should Illinois companies reveal their tax payments?

Senator John Cullerton wants to see tax returns,

Cullerton’s proposal wouldn’t apply to private companies, only publicly traded ones. And their tax information would be released two years after it’s filed.

“It’s not a gotcha to the business community,” Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, said when the Senate discussed the proposal. “It’s actually that (it) helps us have a better tax structure.”

And the story is here:  Should Illinois companies reveal their tax payments? - DailyHerald.com

But I’d really much rather see John Cullerton’s tax return.  And tax returns of the rest of the Cullertons serving in our Government.  And then next I’d like to see Speaker Michael J. Madigan's tax return and the returns of the other Madigans serving in our Government.

Then of course, there’s the Berrio’s family’s returns.  They’re a combine unto themselves.

So yes, please, let’s shed the bright light on tax returns.

Trotter's Moonlighting Alibi Puts Security Firm in Crosshairs Of Probe - My Chicago - DNAinfo.com Chicago

Trotter's Moonlighting Alibi Puts Security Firm in Crosshairs Of Probe - My Chicago - DNAinfo.com Chicago

No kidding...  only surprise was how long it took Big Media to say What? when Trotter first claimed this defense.

Sun Times suddenly awakens from Trotter coma

Sun Times suddenly awakens from Trotter coma

Illinois Pay to Play does a nice job with all of Trotter's connections and wonders why it took the Sun Times so long to layout the clout connections.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Syrian chemical weapons

The resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq ... in Iraq, and Syria, and Jordan, and Libya and ... - Threat Matrix

The resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq ... in Iraq, and Syria, and Jordan, and Libya and ... - Threat Matrix

The Middle East is falling apart.

Has ordeal changed Kirk? - Chicago Sun-Times

Phil Kadner’s opener on a nasty column in the Sun Times,
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (D-Ill.) should reveal his medical bills.
Here's the link Has ordeal changed Kirk? - Chicago Sun-Times

And my comment….
I'd much rather see JJJr's bills. The Federal Employee Health Program dropped Residential Treatment from most benefit plans in 2011. A change to keep premium-increases low per the President's promise to keep them low, and also to keep the plans in line for ACA's anticipated benefit package. 
Presumably then JJJr paid the Mayo Clinic out of pocket for his extended stay there. If his FEHP plan did pay, it would have required an exception from his Case Manager based on attestations from JJJr's Physician that his condition was severe enough to warrant an exception. 
As we get political healthcare, expect more political uses of the healthcare system, and I suspect a political exception may be just below the surface here. If Phil's asking for Politican's bills, I'd say JJJr's bills a good place to start.
 
Update: Warner Todd Huston's perspective here

Friday, December 07, 2012

RNC on Democrat Cliff Jumpers

Good links on heading over the cliff.

Four Years Later, Obama's Dismal Jobs Record Continues Unabated As 350,000 Americans Drop Out Of The Labor Force

THE LABOR FORCE CONTINUES TO SHRINK AND LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT DRAGS ON NEARLY FOUR YEARS AFTER OBAMA PROMISED A RECOVERY

Obama's Advisers Predicted The Stimulus Would Lower Unemployment To 5.4 Percent By Today But It Stands At 7.7 Percent Nearly Four Years Later. (Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, " The Job Impact Of The American Recovery And Reinvestment Plan ," 1/9/09; Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

In November, 350,000 Workers Dropped Out Of The Labor Force. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

  • In November, The Labor Force Participation Rate Decreased From 63.8 Percent To 63.6 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

The Unemployment Rate Dropped "Mostly Because More People Stopped Looking For Work And Weren't Counted As Unemployed." "And the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in November from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed." ("US Economy Adds 146K Jobs, Jobless Rate Falls To 4-Year Low Of 7.7 Percent; Sandy Minor Factor," The Associated Press , 12/7/12)

The Decline In Labor Force Participation Suggests That The Labor Market Is "Still Tepid." "Employment grew faster than expected in November, but a drop in the unemployment rate to nearly a four-year low as people gave up the search for work suggested the labor market was still tepid." (Lucia Mutikani, "Employment Growth Quickens, Jobless Rate At 7.7 Percent," Reuters, 12/7/12)

  • The Drop "Does Not Bode Well For The Economy." "The jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent last month, the lowest since December 2008. But the drop was because people gave up the search for work, which does not bode well for the economy." (Lucia Mutikani, "Employment Growth Quickens, Jobless Rate At 7.7 Percent," Reuters, 12/7/12)

Roll Call 's David Drucker: "…A significanthowever to November jobs #s: Labor participation rate DROPPED in November vs. October. Shows a still weak jobs picture." (David Drucker, Twitter Feed, 12/7/12)

  • Drucker: "And keep in mind: 146K jobs created is mediocre & only good enough 4 U.S. economy to continue treading water @ this level." (David Drucker, Twitter Feed, 12/7/12)

Reuters ' Pedro Da Costa: "A decline in U.S. labor force participation indicates the November drop in unemployment is really nothing to write home about." (Pedro Da Costa, Twitter Feed, 12/7/12)

James Pethokoukis: "At job growth pace of past 2 years, US wont return to pre-recession employment levels until after 2025" (James Pethokoukis, Twitter Feed, 12/7/12)

Since Obama Took Office, The Nation Has Lost 1,044,000 Construction Jobs And 598,000 Manufacturing Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

  • In November, The Construction Sector Lost 20,000 Jobs And The Manufacturing Sector Lost 7,000 Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

There Are 22.7 Million Americans That Are Unemployed, Underemployed Or Marginally Attached To The Labor Force. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

Since Obama Took Office, The Number Of Workers Unemployed For 27 Weeks Or Longer Has Increased From 2.7 Million To 4.8 Million. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

  • 40.1 Percent Of All Unemployed Workers Have Been Out Of Work For 27 Weeks Or Longer. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

Since Obama Took Office, The Number Of Workers Unemployed For 52 Weeks Or Longer Has More Than Doubled From 1.4 Million To 3.4 Million. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

  • 29.7 Percent Of All Unemployed Workers Have Been Out Of Work For 52 Weeks Or Longer. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

Since Obama Took Office, The Average Length Of Unemployment Has More Than Doubled From 19.8 Weeks To 40.0 Weeks. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/7/12)

DESPITE THE WEAK ECONOMY, OBAMA AND HIS LIBERAL ALLIES ARE PRESSING TO STEER THE COUNTRY OVER THE FISCAL CLIFF

The Congressional Budget Office Has Warned Of A Recession In 2013 If The Nation Goes Off The Fiscal Cliff, With The Unemployment Rate Rising As High As 9 Percent. "Such fiscal tightening will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession, with real GDP declining by 0.5 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013 and the unemployment rate rising to about 9 percent in the second half of calendar year 2013 (see Summary Table 2)." ("An Update To The Budget And Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 To 2022," Congressional Budget Office, 8/22/12)

"Call Them The Cliff Jumpers. A Growing Bloc Of Emboldened Liberals Say They're Not Afraid To Watch Defense Spending Get Gouged And Taxes Go Up On Every American If A Budget Deal Doesn't Satisfy Their Priorities." (Seung Min Kim, "Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?," Politico, 11/25/12)

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Said The Administration Is "Absolutely" Willing To Go Off The Fiscal Cliff If The GOP Refuses To Raise Taxes. CNBC's STEVE LIESMAN: "I want to understand the administration's position when it comes to raising taxes on the wealthy, those making more than $250,000. If Republicans do not agree to that, is the administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff?" TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER: "Oh, absolutely. Again, we say there's no prospect to an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest - remember it's only 2 percent. And remember - all those Americans, too, get a tax cut under that framework under the first $250,000 of their income. So in some sense, it's a tax cut for all Americans. It's just for people who make more than that, we're going to ask them to pay a modestly higher amount of additional revenue on top, on the income they earn above 250." (CNBC's "Closing Bell," 12/5/12)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Indicated That She Is Willing To Go Off The Fiscal Cliff Unless A Final Deal Includes Raising Taxes. "In the latest turn of events, Sen. Patty Murray, a leading Senate Democrat, said Monday that no deal will be cut until Republicans agree to raise taxes on high-income households. 'If we can't get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle class families under the bus,' Murray said in prepared remarks at the Brookings Institution." (Jeanne Sahadi, "Fiscal Cliff Fight Is On, And Economy Suffers," CNN, 7/16/12)

  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Endorsed Sen. Murray's Negotiation Tactic On The Fiscal Cliff. "Top negotiators won't explicitly endorse the tip-off-the-cliff method. The White House has repeatedly said an agreement must be reached, though it has drawn its own hard line: Obama will veto any bill that keeps the Bush-era tax rates for the highest earners. When asked about Murray's tactic in July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters: 'Patty Murray knows what she's talking about.'" (Seung Min Kim, "Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?," Politico, 11/25/12)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Says That If A Deal Doesn't Raise Taxes Enough, "Then We're Better Off Going Over The Cliff." "'If the Republicans can't see their way to significant additional revenues targeted toward the people who are best off and targeted toward passive income and other things like that, then we're better off going over the cliff and readdressing this with a better Congress in January,' Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said. 'And we would have plenty of time to fix it.'" (Seung Min Kim, "Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?," Politico, 11/25/12)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) Says "If It's Necessary To Wait To Get A Good Deal, Let's Do That." "'This is very, very important that we hang in there to essentially get the revenue component,' said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). 'I favor an agreement before Jan. 1, but I'm skeptical that our leadership may be able to reach one. If it's necessary to wait to get a good deal, let's do that.'" (Seung Min Kim, "Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?," Politico, 11/25/12)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Said Of The Fiscal Cliff That The "Last Option Is Something That Democrats Need To Prepare For." "But rank-and-file Democrats calling for a so-called balanced deal are getting ready for that alternative. 'If there's a better opportunity to deal with that in January,' said Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), 'then that last option is something that Democrats need to prepare for.'" (Seung Min Kim, "Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?," Politico, 11/25/12)

Former Chairman Of The DNC Howard Dean Has Voiced Support For Going Off The Fiscal Cliff, Saying "Let's Go Ahead And Get This Done." FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN HOWARD DEAN: "So, if you want to try to do this whole thing by cutting spending, be my guest, but you're not going to have many democratic votes. The fiscal cliff was agreed to by Republicans and Democrats. Now nobody wants to pay the price. I say let's go ahead and get this done. The fact is it's actually a slope and not a cliff. We've got to get this done. I'm serious about deficit reduction. I don't think you can talk about deficit reduction without more taxes and cutting spending both." (CNBC's " Squawk Box," 12/4/12)

At Cliff's Edge, Economy On Shaky Ground

Thursday, December 06, 2012

D-Day for Right-to-Work in Michigan - Hit & Run : Reason.com

I never imagined Michigan would be on the verge of becoming a right-to-work state.  Good coverage at Reason.Com (link below) on what’s bound to be very ugly.

D-Day for Right-to-Work in Michigan - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Generations

House GOP ad on the fiscal cliff....

 

Campaign for America’s Future: Wage Class War (And Win) site

Campaign for America’s Future’s new Class War site: Wage Class War (And Win) - Help the 99%. Defend the 47%. Fairness for 100%.

Be wary this narrative Progressives of waging war on fellow Americans, as America fights real wars, Assad loads Sarin, and Iran builds its nukes.

H/T Brenda J. Elliott

Norquist: Obama’s Failed Fiscal Cliff Ideas Like a ‘Seinfeld Episode Where No Learning Takes Place’ « Publius Forum

Warner sits down with Norquist and talks Fiscal Cliff…..

Norquist: Obama’s Failed Fiscal Cliff Ideas Like a ‘Seinfeld Episode Where No Learning Takes Place’ « Publius Forum

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Geithner: Ready to Go Over 'Cliff' If Taxes Don't Rise

Tough talk from a Tax Cheat.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither told CNBC Wednesday that Republicans are "making a little bit of progress" in "fiscal cliff" talks but said the Obama administration was "absolutely" ready to go over the cliff if the GOP doesn't agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy.

"I think they're making a little bit of progress," Geithner said. "They're clearly moving and figuring out how to try to move further."

But Geithner said the White House would "absolutely" go over the fiscal cliff — triggering over $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases — unless tax rates increase on the top 2 percent of wage earners.

Geithner: Ready to Go Over 'Cliff' If Taxes Don't Rise

IL State Sen. Donne Trotter arrested at O'Hare Airport

IL State Sen. Donne Trotter arrested at O'Hare Airport

Trotter arrested for packing a handgun at O'Hare.  Can't say I blame him, and I'm guessing he's one of many Chicago Politicans who carry; if not most of them.

H/T Kerry Lester on Facebook.

Standing up for LaShawn: OakPark.com

Dan Haley stands up for the indicted LaShawn Ford in the column below:
Standing up for LaShawn Ford | Articles | News | OakPark.com

Would be interesting to see these properties Ford purportedly rehabbed with the load proceeds.  His district has seen plenty of scams with real estate.  I don’t know what to make of Ford, but I know its awfully hard to be on hard on Bank lending practices and then let what Ford allegedly did slide. 

Update:  More on Ford over at Austin Weekly News

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Kass: Vanecko charged. Now what really happened?

From Kass’s column (link below).  Chicagoans owed a lot of explaining on how this got stalled for eight years. Hurrah for Judge Toomin.

It won’t be an easy trial, if there is a trial instead of a plea deal. A trial would let the city in on what was done and what wasn’t done, in those 11 days that Koschman was on life support.


What we’d all like to know is what happened, really, in those 11 days. Were the cops merely indifferent or were they worried about City Hall? Were the prosecutors worried as well? And why could Webb do what two other prosecutors couldn’t do?


“This is not a whodunit. We know who did it," Judge Michael Toomin said in April, when he appointed Webb as special prosecutor. "We have a known offender and yet no charges."


We’ve put out calls to former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and another to current State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, to ask them whether Webb’s investigation compromises their office. If they respond, I’ll tell you in the paper on Tuesday. If they don’t, I’ll tell you that, too.

Kass: Vanecko charged in Koschman death - chicagotribune.com

Stalzy's Deli and Bakery, Madison, Wisconsin

Had lunch yesterday at Stalzy's Deli and Bakery in Madison, Wisconsin.  Found it quite by accident but what a great find.

Here's our lunch.  We'll be back.  I'm going for the Pastrami next time.




Quirky Libertarian Group Meets at Hub to Watch Voting Results - DNAinfo.com Chicago

Quirky Libertarian Group Meets at Hub to Watch Voting Results - DNAinfo.com Chicago

We've got a Democrat Governor with a cartoon pitch; and then JJJr, Derrick Smith, La Shawn Ford all  indicted or soon to be, and then Cook County voters elect an insane Democratic Judge.... but it's the Libertarians in Chicago labeled quirky?

Daley nephew indicted in '04 death of David Koschman

Daley nephew indicted in '04 death of David Koschman

Juctice creeps in Illinois.  Sometimes it prevails.

Illinois Policy Institute - Fox News: Discussing Pension Reform and Squeezy the Pension Python with Megyn Kelly

Illinois Policy Institute - Fox News: Discussing Pension Reform and Squeezy the Pension Python with Megyn Kelly

Geez, Quinn makes us look such idiots in Illinois with this Pension Python analysis of our fiscal crisis.  IPI on Fox discussing the muddle of Illinois Politics and Policy.

Meriter officials say layoffs caused by Medicare cuts

Affordable Care Act layoffs at Meriter Hospital in Madison.  Progressive / Liberal response to providing more care, is to cut the supply of care.  The odd outcome of putting Social Engineers in Charge.
On Tuesday, Meriter spokesperson Mary Reinke said in a statement that about 4 percent of the hospital's 3,500 positions would be eliminated. That's 140 positions cut, but 50 employees affected, because many of those positions are currently vacant. Some of those 50 employees among various departments will be offered jobs elsewhere in the company.
Reinke says the layoffs are a pre-emptive move to offset cuts to Medicare reimbursements put in place by the federal Affordable Care Act.
According to Wisconsin Hospital Association President Steve Brenton, the state's 135 hospitals receive Medicare funding based on the Medicare business they take on. Brenton says Medicare is about 40 percent of most hospitals' business.
The Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare payments to hospitals across Wisconsin by about $2.6 billion over ten years. Brenton says that could mean big cuts to operating budgets at many hospitals like Meriter.

Official: Syria moving chemical weapons components - San Jose Mercury News

The Administration’s drawing red lines with Syria and Iran but I’m awfully skeptical we’d do much when they’re crossed. Talking tough and acting weak a sure formulae for disaster.

WASHINGTON—A U.S. defense official says international intelligence sources have detected that Syria has been moving chemical weapons components in recent days.

The official says U.S. and allied intelligence officials have detected activity around more than one of Syria's chemical weapons sites in the last week. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters.

He says officials don't believe any developments with the weapons are imminent but are trying to figure out what the Syrians are doing.

The Obama administration stressed anew Monday that it wouldn't accept any use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, but didn't say if it had any new evidence to suggest a possible deployment of the stockpiles by the embattled Syrian government.

Speaking in Prague, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated President Barack Obama's declaration that Syrian action on chemical weapons was "red line" for the United States that would prompt action. She didn't address news reports suggesting fresh activity at Syrian chemical weapons depots, but insisted that Washington would address any threat that arises.

"We have made our views very clear: This is a red line for the United States," Clinton told reporters. "I'm not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do

Official: Syria moving chemical weapons components - San Jose Mercury News

DIA to send hundreds more spies overseas - The Washington Post

More spies coming…

The DIA overhaul — combined with the growth of the CIA since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will create a spy network of unprecedented size. The plan reflects the Obama administration’s affinity for espionage and covert action over conventional force. It also fits in with the administration’s efforts to codify its counterterrorism policies for a sustained conflict and assemble the pieces abroad necessary to carry it out.

Unlike the CIA, the Pentagon’s spy agency is not authorized to conduct covert operations that go beyond intelligence gathering, such as drone strikes, political sabotage or arming militants.

But the DIA has long played a major role in assessing and identifying targets for the U.S. military, which in recent years has assembled a constellation of drone bases stretching from Afghanistan to East Africa.

DIA to send hundreds more spies overseas - The Washington Post

Ford introduces resolution to save West Side bank

Maybe Ford just got in way over his head….

The irony couldn't be starker.

While under investigation for bank fraud by federal authorities, state Rep. LaShawn Ford has continued his work in the community by introducing a resolution to the General Assembly to help save a troubled West Side bank.

On Tuesday, Ford, who was indicted Nov. 29 by the feds on a 17-count indictment, introduced the resolution on behalf of black-owned Covenant Bank, located in North Lawndale, to help improve its capitalization problem.

Ford introduces resolution to save West Side bank

West’s latest Afghanistan: Mali - The Globe and Mail

Amazing these preparations going unnoticed in the United States and without any debate in Congress.

The disarray and discontent, further muddled by a confusing mix of freelance militia groups, are signs of the huge task that confronts Western governments – possibly including Canada – as they gear up to train thousands of Malian forces for the world’s next war: a battle against the Islamist radicals who have seized control of the northern half of this West African country.

The military operation, with strong support from Europe and the United States, could begin as early as March or April. It will be a crucial effort to expel al-Qaeda-linked militants from the three main cities of northern Mali, rolling back the growing power of terrorists who have murdered and kidnapped their way across a wide swathe of North and West Africa.

The challenge will be nearly as complex as anything Canada faced in Afghanistan. The obstacles, as in Afghanistan, are not merely a determined band of Islamist jihadists, but also a ferment of ethnic tensions, a proliferation of armed militias, a collapsing state, extreme poverty, a harsh climate, and an anarchic army.

Canada is still deciding whether to join the military training effort in Mali, but some analysts expect that it will. If it does, it will not have much time to try to help fix an under-equipped Malian military that has long been notorious for corruption, human rights abuses, an unclear chain of command, an appetite for political power, and a reluctance to accept civilian control. Years of earlier training efforts by Canada and the United States failed to make a dent in the army’s problems.

West’s latest Afghanistan: Mali - The Globe and Mail

NADER: WAR CRIMINAL OBAMA WORSE THAN BUSH

Credit the Peace Movement for knowing there's a war going on.  Damn the Peace Movement for caving in to this cynical President.  Obama's single handedly wiped out the Peace Movement.  Obama resolved the question of whether water-boarding's torture by just stopping to take prisoners all together and relaying on drone executions instead (no more intel either).  Peace Movement has much to answer for now.   H/T Breitbart

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Finke: Illinois lawmakers are among best paid - Peoria, IL - pjstar.com

I’d add best paid and worst performing lawmakers too.  Great column buy Doug Finke and Illinois’s lawmakers compensation system including this gem from Madigan and Cullerton on the bonus for LEADERSHP which seems sorely lacking.

Additional money for lawmakers in leadership posts didn't start in Illinois until 1967. At the time, nine leaders got additional compensation, the most going to the top posts in each chamber - House Speaker and House Minority Leader, Senate President and Senate Minority Leader.

The number of paid leadership posts gradually has increased. There are now 21 paid leadership posts in the House and 15 in the Senate.

Both Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, believe the increasing complexity of the legislative process justifies having more leadership positions.

"As the legislative process has become more complex, those in leadership have a greater responsibility to shape public policy and educate the rank-and-file on a wide range of policies and implications," said Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said, "If anything, the complexity of some of the issues that come up probably has grown. You hopefully have people who have cultivated an interest and knowledge in those areas."

Finke: Illinois lawmakers are among best paid - Peoria, IL - pjstar.com