Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Greg Hinz: Rauner budget chief blasts 'irresponsible' spending that 'skirted the law'

Greg Hinz wrote of Guv R:  Perhaps because he's having second thoughts about his plan to repeal the entire income tax hike pushed through by Mr. Quinn.
Perhaps you could have asked?
Perhaps it's facts we like to read?
Perhaps 'cause any ole fool can wonder?
And a pundit ought to know.

Economics Professor on Rauner Situation | Alton Daily News

Economics Professor on Rauner Situation | Alton Daily News

Sometimes we work best with a bayonet at our backs.  Rauner's tight spot may be just the poke in the rear Springfield needs.

STATE AFFAIRS: Rauner and education in New Year - The Times: Columnists

STATE AFFAIRS: Rauner and education in New Year - The Times: Columnists

Films on World War I, Cold War to be screened at Pune International Film Festival | Business Standard News

Films on World War I, Cold War to be screened at Pune International Film Festival | Business Standard News

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Look Inside the Anti-Police Protest Movement

A Look Inside the Anti-Police Protest Movement

The President, Al Sharpton, and the Corruption of Modern Liberalism

Al Sharpton is a person who lives for the purpose of stoking racial hatreds. He was convicted of defaming a New York prosecutor, Steven A. Pagones, in the notorious Tawana Brawley affair, in which Brawley falsely accused Pagones of raping her. During the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, Sharpton fueled black rage after a Hasidic Jewish driver accidentally killed a seven-year-old black child with his car. (A young talmudic scholar, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death by a mob shouting “Kill the Jew.”) Sharpton has made numerous anti-Semitic comments. He’s characterized black people who disagreed with him as “yellow niggers” and called white people “crackers.” He constantly casts the police as racists when there’s no evidence to support the charge. And on top of that he’s a tax cheat, having been convicted of tax evasion and, according to the New York Times, with more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses. 
Sharpton, then, is a notorious and demagogic figure. He’s anti-cop. He’s anti-Semitic. And he’s an enemy of racial reconciliation, having done incalculable damage to race relations in America. That such a loathsome individual would be allowed into the White House is itself stunning; and the fact that he’s Barack Obama’s “go-to man on race” is shameful and discrediting. These are the depths to which modern liberalism has descended.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cindy Gorn, Unity and Struggle, and In Support of the Ferguson Rebellion (Black Rose / Rosa Negra)

Seems Gorn spoke as an affiliate of an outfit called Unity and Struggle back in 2011 at Common Struggle's Left Forum.

Here's the Left Forum's recent statement on Ferguson,

'The colonized subject discovers reality and transforms it through his praxis, his deployment of violence and his agenda for liberation' 1

We are writing to express our unconditional support of the Rebellion in Ferguson, MO, a working class city of 67% Black residents and 94% white police force. On Saturday August 8, 2014 Michael ‘Mike Mike’ Brown, an unarmed 18 year old Black teenager, was executed by an unnamed police officer. Following the execution by multiple gunshots, the people of Ferguson— friends, neighbors, and family of Michael Brown— converged to mourn their beloved and express their rage in a uprising that began with powerful, documented analysis and agitation.1

We support the rebellion and uprising of the people of Ferguson, MO because, in the words of DeAndre Smith2, this type of response is “exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community.”

We want to be perfectly clear that we believe resistance to police is always justified. The police exist to protect and serve whiteness, an ideology of supremacy that needs to be abolished in order to obtain freedom. Ferguson has given us evidence of this straight from the horse’s mouth, as police with riot gear and barking dogs yelled to demonstrators: “All you fucking animals, bring it.”

We reject the notion that the unnamed officer who shot dead Mike Brown was a bad apple, a case to be reviewed. The problem is not of a rogue police officer acting out of line; the problem is the police. The modern police force evolved from slave patrols in the 1700s and continue to systematically control, assault, and murder Black communities. As DeAndre Smith recognized, this is a problem rooted in economics. This country was built by enslaved Blacks on the plantation and made possible by the theft of Indigenous land, and continues to thrive in the neoliberal present day with more Blacks now in prison or confined in ghettos, being killed by police. Indeed, as Frantz Fanon says, ‘the colonist derives his validity, i.e., his wealth, from the colonial system.’

Furthermore, we reject the bourgeois myth of respectability that claims Michael Brown’s life is not worthy of being mourned unless he was in some way ‘innocent’, when our racist society has systematically stripped Black bodies of innocence and marked them as ‘criminal’. We celebrate each existence and mourn the death of every Black life lost. We stand against the ideology of whiteness that allows for the devaluing of Black lives.

The government response in Ferguson has been to create a barbaric, militarized police state working to sustain itself and quell the people. They have been trained by the Israeli Defense Force which maintains an Apartheid state and a genocidal program of forced removal of Palestinians from their historical land.3 Media blackout, rubber bullets and teargas deployed on assemblies of people and directly into residential neighborhoods, warzone gear, ear piercing crowd control tactics, cancelling the first day of school. These responses are the direct responsibility of the police, and we strongly reject media claims that state otherwise. Police declared a no fly zone in Ferguson for the reason of “providing a safe environment for law enforcement activities” —- they have made their interests clear. That is why the people of St. Louis and Ferguson have not backed down. They militantly retain their dignity and continue to fight back with efforts resulting in St. Louis Police having been pulled from the ground in Ferguson.

How many more black lives? — Michael Brown, shot dead by police on 8/8/14; Ezell Ford, shot dead by police 8/11/14; John Crawford, shot dead by police 8/7/14; Eric Garner, killed in a chokehold by police on 7/17/14: lives stolen, Black August.

 Renisha McBride, Islan Nettles, Trayvon Martin: killed in the name of white supremacy, misogyny and transphobia. Lives stolen, Black August.*

The lines have been drawn, we refuse to turn down in the face of racist, capitalist violence. The people of St. Louis are standing up, this rebellion is part of an agenda for liberation— and through organizing, rebellions can become revolutions. Communities everywhere are working against violence, criminalization, and displacement of working class people; this is the time to build connections in struggle. Once again we look to DeAndre Smith, “I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means.”

1) Quote from Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”. Photo of Ferguson protestor returning a teargas canister to sender
2) Link to video of pre-riot agitation
3) Link to video of Smith’s analysis & transcription

”I’m DeAndre Smith. And this is exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community. When you have kids getting killed for nothing, when they’re out here minding their business… you can lock ‘em up, you can teach them, you can mold them, at the same time, you ain’t got to kill them. He ain’t got no gun in his hands. Why you kill him? You said Trayvon had a hoodie on, you didn’t know what was going on with him. He didn’t have no hoodie on. His hands was up when you shot him! So what’s your excuse?”

“I was here, I was out here. That’s all I can say. I was out here with the community. That’s all I can say. I was out here standing side-by-side with the community. I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means. I think they got a taste of… (other voice inaudible) … IN St. Louis. The last state to abolish slavery. And they think they still have power over certain things? I believe so, cuz they doing stuff like this, and getting away with it. People ain’t sayin nothing! They not doing nothing, across the country. They not going for it here! Saint Louis ain’t going for it!

“This is how they eat here. This is how they receive money. Businesses. Taxes. Police stopping people. Giving ‘em tickets, taking ‘em to court, locking ‘em up. That’s how they make money in St. Louis. Right? Traffic…everything is all about money in St. Louis, right? So when you stop their flow of income. When you stop their…their, their, whole everything, their business, what they organized, they have certain things in a certain way. Right, (making quotation marks with fingers) “secret society” type of deal, right? We’re gonna eat and you guys are gonna starve. Gentrification, put you in a certain neighborhood by yourself, and see if you can starve in a proper way. It’s not gonna happen, not in St Louis.”

4) Report on St. Louis Police Department visit to Israel
5) Sentence structure referencing Marilyn Buck’s poem ‘Black August’



Cindy Gorn on Occupy Wall Street

Found this on a Dutch Website.  Gorn's one of those arrested for assaulting a cop in NYC. I translated to English using Google Translate.

CINDY Gorn, 26 YEARS: "OWS stands at a crossroads"

OWS has opened a space in which people talk about their everyday lives. Before they did that but it was just bitching (groan). OWS since they make the connection between their personal problems and what happens to society. In particular, I speak from my experience in the student movement. I was there already actively began to OWS.

I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. I studied geography and spent a year in Vietnam, where I worked on a project about landmines. Currently I am both student and teacher. I do my doctoral studies and to help defray those I teach a course in "Urban Affairs' at Hunter College. Since the beginning of OWS, I am particularly active in coordinating the actions of OWS and the students. The student movement is an important part of OWS and not only because they provide many foot soldiers for demonstrations. She also has a lot of raised. The students keep their own GI (general meetings) which they use direct democracy techniques that they have learned from OWS. They have their own requirements, but which fit seamlessly with what OWS stands for. For the students of the private universities, the problem is that they have to go deeper into debt to finance their studies while their job prospects are getting worse. The average debt of a recent graduate of NYU (New York University) is 37 000 dollars. Together, student borrowers for more than $ 800 billion in debt. The students of the much cheaper CUNY (City University of New York, with 480 000 students) where Hunter College is part, have that problem less. But they suffer the consequences of the budget cuts that affect the quality of their education. Both groups are confronted with the consequences of the breakdown of society but in a different way. That difference in experience playing with. So we have to give up the occupation of a building of the New School after a week because of opposition from students that private univ. The Cuny students who come from disadvantaged environments, identify more with OWS.

The disagreements in the student movement and OWS are the same. Usually it is between radicals and conciliationists. After a brutal police action against the violent resistance of students at Baruch College you had a discussion in the student GIs which advocated one camp for training in self-defense and tougher actions and the other for their own security forces and cooperation with the police. OWS is now at a crossroads. Either the movement refuse to be pinned down to specific requirements and continues to harden her criticism of the whole system of injustice. Either let them recruit by the Democrats and their union partners who have their own system-perpetuating agenda and in 2012 absorbed by the election circus.

And here's a screen scrape of the page in Dutch,

The more things change ... |

The more things change ... |

Dec. 18 Airstrike on Da'ish VBIED in Iraq

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Dan Henninger: GOP liberate the locked-in US Economy

Henninger via WSJ,
The ascendant GOP congressional majority needs to do one thing: Liberate the locked-in U.S. economy. Start opening every valve the Obama Democrats turned shut. That's the real gridlock. Voters didn't do this just so Washington could work. Voters did this in the expectation that Washington will now enable them to work. There's a difference. This is a bet that the class of 2014 gets it.
Let's hope the Senators are reading.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Scott Walker on Washington and Wisconsin

Gov Walker from Slate,
"The difference between Washington and Wisconsin—the folks in Washington like this top-down approach that's old and artificial and outdated and says that government knows best," Walker said in his victory speech, over roaring fans. "We say that you should build the economy from ground up that's new and fresh and organic, and that's what we're going to do." 
Sums this whole election with emphasis on approach that's old and artificial and outdated  versus ... from ground up that's new and fresh and organic.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jihadist training camps proliferate in Iraq and Syria

Via Long War Journal... Islamic State has big plans.
Since the Syrian civil war began in the spring of 2011, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and other allied jihadist groups have operated more than 30 training camps inside Iraq and Syria. While global jihadist groups have primarily used camps to indoctrinate and train fighters for local insurgencies as part of the effort to establish a global caliphate, in the past al Qaeda has used its camps to support attacks against the West. 
The Long War Journal has compiled information on the camps from jihadist videos, news accounts, and US military press releases that note airstrikes against the training facilities. It is unclear if all of the training camps are currently in operation. In addition, this analysis is compiled using publicly-available evidence. It is likely that some training camps are not advertised.
Since the beginning of 2012, a total of 38 camps have been identified as being operational. Of those camps, 28 are in Syria, and 10 are in Iraq.

Read more:

Parliament salutes Kevin Vickers

Pastor Corey Brooks: Why I support Jim Oberweis

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where Is the Surgeon General? — NEJM

Where Is the Surgeon General? — NEJM

Vivek Murthy was a dud besides the stand on guns.  Way too inexperienced.  Otherwise a very good question from NEJM.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Quantum Moral Maze

How to Choose Your Destiny in the Multiverse
According to quantum physics, there isn't a single reality, but a huge tree of all possible physical outcomes. So can you choose the right destiny for yourself?

This video by New Scientist interactively explains how you can shape your destiny. Every decision you make may spawn parallel universes where people are suffering because of your choice. Welcome to the quantum moral maze:
Wonder if I can destin my way to Washington Island, Wisconsin without worrrying about that ferry fare everytime I want to get back to Chicago (or just Sturgeon Bay)?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Moroccan Soccer Fans Root For ISIL

Moroccan Soccer Fans Root For ISIL

Northeast loses 40% of House seats as people flee high-tax states | Mobile Washington Examiner

Northeast loses 40% of House seats as people flee high-tax states | Mobile Washington Examiner

Heard at the Ogilvie Center

Once the Chicago's Northwestern Station aka Ogilvie Transportation Center had extensive bath facilities for intercity travelers including showers, barbershop, and anything else a guy would need to look good. 

Now the men's room has a single and narrow 'L' shaped entrance through which two averaged size fellows  can't really pass.  In a rush you kind of negotiate passage, and last week's deliberations were aggravated by two homeless guys using the electrical outlet midway in the hall to recharge their cell phones.  Chronically homeless guys with all of their stuff packed up with them too.

Waiting in the now longer line to get by, I heard one of the homeless ask the other if there weren't outlets in the food court they could use.  His colleague replied that wasn't allowed.  Their only access to power was this outlet in the John's entrance.  The partner said, "shit, I can smoke pot legally now in Illinois but I can't charge my phone in the food court?"

"Yeah no kidding I mumbled" as I slide sideways past them.


What would Dr. Emanuel think of their quality of life?

My latest comment to appear in ModernHealthcare's print edition.  It was in response to this.

When I worked at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in suburban Chicago, I'd sometimes have lunch outside the spinal cord center on sunny days with veterans prostate on their gurneys unable to move much but still able to enjoy sun, a smoke and conversation. I wonder what Doc Emanuel would make of their quality of life (or the expense of their care)?


Bill Baar

Campton Hills, Ill.

Monday, September 08, 2014

As Republicans contemplate the possible size of their November victory, outlier races may get interesting.  Scott Brown, a few weeks ago considered certain to lose, may well win in New Hampshire.  Most folks would not have thought that Repu...

As Republicans contemplate the possible size of their November victory, outlier races may get interesting.  Scott Brown, a few weeks ago considered certain to lose, may well win in New Hampshire.  Most folks would not have thought that Repu...

Oberweis has run for office before, so he is not unknown to Illinois voters. He is a multimillionaire whose campaign will not lose by being hopelessly outspent. The two will meet for at least one televised debate before the election (Oberweis wants seven debates, but Durbin has agreed to only one.) Durbin is well-known in Washington politics as a very arrogant man – the man in 2005 who compared American soldiers in combat to Nazis and Pol Pot. If this side of him comes out during the televised debates, that could not only switch voters from him to Oberweis, but also turn off Illinois Democrat voters even more, who look with disgust at Governor Quinn and with dismay at Mayor Emanuel, both of whom are campaigning now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

West Side Police Commander Facing Criminal Charges - North Lawndale - Chicago

West Side Police Commander Facing Criminal Charges - North Lawndale - Chicago

I'd wonder about calling the cops for help knowing this kind of guy in charge.  I'd fear he'd be in cahoots with the bad actors himself.

BasNews: Over 700 Yazidi Women Kidnapped by IS

Kurdish newspaper from Erbil on the fate of Yazidi women in Mosel.  Not easy to read....

The Head of High Council of Women Affairs of the Kurdistan Region Pakhshan Zangana pointed out that according to the latest statistic that they have obtained, 700 Kurdish Yazidi women have been kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) insurgents and some of them get sold.

According to the latest statistics, over seven hundred Kurdish Yazidi women have been captured by Islamic State insurgents. Some of them have been sold off, where others have been separated from the group by IS, who plan to “marry them off” if they convert to Islam.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oberweis’s coast to the acceptable 40% showing

Came home yesterday to a well done package of Rauner for Governor literature with a personal note from the worker who walked my neighborhood.  I've seen his ads on Fox.  Friend of Rahm or not, the guy's running a campaign hitting Illinois's Progressive fixtures hard.  So where's Oberweis?  There's plenty going on now to hit Durbin.  Where's my Oberweis mailer?


Why hold back?  The only solid reason to have voted for him in the primary was he could self-fund the long hard slog against Durbin.  So what game's our Chess Player playing?


Jiri the Czech tells me Oberweis's taking a fall.  He's been paid off to not campaign hard.


 Couldn't quite figure out what would make Jim jump until another friend-in-the know with a gift-of-analysis told me,


"Agreed (with Jiri). He (Oberwis) really wants to be accepted by the establishment, to the detriment of actually campaigning."

"He replaced most of his staff after the primary.  Now he is going to coast to a 40% showing and retire respectfully."


Ahh, so that's the game.  No complicated Chess strategy; just comfortable Illinois GOP Establishmentism.  And the righties worried Rauner was too progressive.  Heck, better half-a-conservative willing to fight, than a sleepy GOP stalwart.


Say It Ain't So Jim, Say it Ain't So.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stars and Stripes: Hagel suggests Islamic State militants pose threat to US homeland

The SecDef said,
"This country should not make any mistake on this, nor anyone in Congress: This is a threat to our country. This is a force that is sophisticated, it's dynamic, it's strong, it's organized, it's well-financed, it's competent… And it is a threat to our allies all over the Middle East, it's a threat to Europe… and it's a threat to us," he told troops at a town hall at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Senator Kirk and policing the Wait Times at the Hines VA Hospital

Trib writes Kirk blasts new VA directive.   A cooler Senator might chat with his staff first.  The VA's Network Office invites them quarterly to a Congressional meeting where the VA updates them on things like waits and delays for care, and --more importantly-- Congressional Staff update VA on constituent's complaints.  Kirk might want to check how many of those complaints were on delays  (assuming Kirk's staff attended?)
As for policing data and reports, well, the VA has a bi monthly report on average waits by clinic.  Why doesn't the Director at Hines pin that report on the board in the lobby with the phone numbers Vets can call if the published waits don't jibe with their experiences?
Ever notice that big board Elmhurst Hospital has along the Ike with their current Emergency Room wait times?  No reason VA can't do a low budget version in every VA Hospital Lobby for every vet or interested citizen to check.
They'll be less blasting, and more common sense in the politicized healthcare system we've given Veterans. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

testing voice recognition

Just fiddling with the new Samsung tablet and the speaker voice recognition option which is pretty cool.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bruce Rauner: …As Quinnocchio Gets His Running Mate a “Sweet Insider Job”

Quinn finds Vallas a nice job per a Rauner Press Release.

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2014

Contact: Leili Doerr
(312) 288-1755

Rauner Grows Coalition…

Chicago preacher James Meeks backs Republican gubernatorial candidate:
“This former state senator is active as a leader in Chicago’s African-American community and also has considerable political clout. This gubernatorial election he is not throwing that clout behind the Democrat, incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. Instead, Meeks is lining up behind Bruce Rauner…” (Fox News, 4/7/2014)

Continues Growing Coalition
Major Chicago black church leaders, all one-time Democrats, have endorsed Rauner, including the Reverend and former State Senator James Meeks, West Sider the Reverend Marshall Hatch and the South Side's Reverend Stephen Thurston. "I'm not looking at the party, I'm looking at the issues that are there," Thurston said… (ABC Chicago, 3/21/14)

…As Quinnocchio Gets His Running Mate a “Sweet Insider Job”

APVallas joins team that includes top Blago aide and Quinn campaign donor:
“Gov. Pat Quinn is taking heat over his running mate's new job. Paul Vallas is joining DSI Civic Financial Restructuring, a Chicago-based firm specializing in government restructuring and reorganization. The company's CEO is Bill Brandt, whom Quinn re-appointed chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority. State records show Brandt gave Quinn's campaign $100,000 in December. John Filan, who was budget director under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is the company's vice president.” (Associated Press, 4/7/2014)

Chicago TribuneFormer Blago aide is Quinn “ally” who Quinn kept on state payroll:
Vallas joins a team that includes John Filan, another Quinn ally who was the state’s chief operating officer under ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Quinn kept Filan on the state payroll following Blagojevich’s 2008 ouster, much to the chagrin of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan who sought to remove hundreds of Blagojevich appointees. Filan resigned his post as executive director of the finance authority on July 1, 2009, but acted as a paid consultant for several months after that. (Chicago Tribune, 4/7/2014)

Sun-TimesRauner: Vallas hire by Quinn donor a 'Blagojevich-style move':
"Paul Vallas just helped Pat Quinn complete the transformation from self-styled reformer to another back-scratching Illinois politician in record time," Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told Early & Often. "Over the last five years, Pat Quinn has given special deals and appointments to Brandt and Filan. Now, they're returning the favor in a Blagojevich-style move." (Chicago Sun-Times, 4/7/2014)

The Capitol Fax dubbed it “a sweet insider job.” (The Capitol Fax, 4/7/2014)

Allen West: Is the tide turning? Two minority Dems in Chicago supporting GOP

West writes,

James Meeks, a former State Senator and currently Senior Pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist megachurch has decided to support Rauner rather than Democrat Governor Pat Quinn. As well, attorney Manny Sanchez, who helped lead President Obama’s outreach campaign among Latinos is jumping ship to support Rauner.

Rev. James Meeks Supports Bruce Rauner

Haven't been blogging much

Other endeavors took all of my time and energy the past few months so I've had little time for blogging. I will try and post on the Gov race. It's way too important for Illinois not to put some time into that. Today's Editorial in the Trib gives a few of the reasons.
Meanwhile, millions of Illinoisans have come to know this decade as among the most treacherous in two centuries of statehood. It's a time of paltry growth, of stubborn joblessness that ranks second nationwide — yet also a time of headlines about this or that politician, rushing pell mell to raise taxes. Those officials have cornered themselves: The imbalance between the spending they (or their predecessors) foolishly promised and their current revenue really is that huge.
We have arrived at what finally looks to be a pivotal juncture in the darkening arc of Illinois history. More politicians are coming to realize the truth that Madigan spoke three years ago. It is, as he partially admitted in a House debate last week, a truth he helped create: Illinois is overpromised, overspent, overborrowed. Present trajectories point to doom. So the race for luscious new revenue is quickening.
 Please follow Illinois Review in the meantime or Kerrry Lester.  Two of the best on what's happening in this state.

Spring finally...  sat on the porch this AM with my coffee.  About time.  It's been a very long winter.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Diana Rauner: Agenda

Rauner's wife Diana in a very effective ad. I believe him. He has no social agenda. He's got an economic agenda to get Illinois's economy growing and putting people back to work. Whether that's right or left, Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal it's the agenda Illinois needs at the moment.

Rauner keeps this up he's got a shot against Quinn's machine.

Monday, January 20, 2014

GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Field Questions from High Schoolers | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Field Questions from High Schoolers | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

Just watched it and I give it too Dan Rutherford.  He just seemed the most natural responding to the questions.  I liked his answer to the Q on what TV character best described him (it was teenagers asking these questions).  Rutherford said he didn't watch much TV but to be responsive he thought the old shows he had watched as a kid inspired him to travel the world.  May sound off here in my description, but it was authentic.  I guess Rutherford just came off as the most authentic here.  Brady a second place, and Dillard just sounded like he wat trying too hard.  Forget telling us all the neigborhoods you visit Sen. Dillard.  Just tweet us the pics.

Prairie State Report: Free At Last: Federal Court Hands Bloggers Legal First Amendment Protections

Good news via PSR below,

Lawyer Eugene Volokh reports that the ruling in Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) holds that, “all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment.”  
The relevant section in the ruling is as follows: The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.” Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue–not the identity of the speaker–provide the First Amendment touchstones.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Der Spiegel: Lazare Ponticelli, the last poilu

Romain Leick on the differing retrospections between France and Germany on WW1: The Symbolic Power of French Victory
Lazare Ponticelli was France's last surviving WW1 Veteran.  He passed in 2008.

Whenever the topic came up over the course of his biblically long life, Lazare Ponticelli always doggedly rejected the idea of being buried in a state funeral. But shortly before his death, under pressure from both the media and political leaders, he gave his consent for a solemn ceremony, "without much fuss and without a big parade, in the name of all those who died, men and women."
Ponticelli was the last recognized veteran of in France, the last living survivor of the more than 8 million people who were called to arms by the French Republic. Of that number, some 1.4 million did not survive the massive slaughter. When Ponticelli passed away on March 12, 2008, in Le Kremlin-Bicêtre near Paris, at the age of 110, his death moved the entire nation.

Der Spiegel: Disaster Centennial: The Disturbing Relevance of World War I

From Der Spiegel's piece on the start of the WW1 Centennial year,

The survivors of World War I included Franz Warremann, a journeyman bricklayer from the northeastern German city of Rostock, whose grandson, Joachim Gauck, is Germany's president today. Warremann brought home a helmet from the front that had been dented when it was grazed by a bullet just above his left temple. He had apparently been extremely lucky.
The dented helmet has since been lost, says Gauck in his office at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, but the sight of it created such a strong impression on him that he could "still draw it" today.
When his grandfather got together with other veterans in the evening and they talked about the war, young Joachim was always surprised at how exuberant they seemed. How could they be so happy after those harrowing experiences?
Only much later did he understand that the men treasured spending time with fellow soldiers who had also looked death in the eye in the trenches. Only they could understand what it meant.
And that was why they were celebrating life.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Illinois Medicaid asks feds to approve 'sea change' in how it spends money

This can't be smart.

Illinois Medicaid asks feds to approve 'sea change' in how it spends money

Illinois Medicaid has a bold plan to use federal matching dollars for everything from job training to repurposing nursing homes to help cut costs in the financially-strapped program. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, which administers Medicaid, revealed the details last week as part of a proposal that would give the state more flexibility in how it uses federal matching...

Proof of Life: America’s last POW

Hew Strachan: Senior UK Defense Advisor: Obama Is Clueless About ‘What He Wants To Do In The World'

Hew Strachan is the authorit on WW1 History and how Politicans stumbling can lead to very bad outcomes. Pay head to him: Senior UK Defense Advisor: Obama Is Clueless About 'What He Wants To Do In The World'


ABC: Blagojevich wins one; Appellate court to receive transcripts of all undercover tapes

DOJ needs to put the audio and transcripts of all the tapes up online. Way too much history here that needs to be aired and examined.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

US Has Video of Captured US Soldier |

US Has Video of Captured US Soldier |

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl rarely makes the news. Taliban just released video of him.

Dan Proft on Education Equality

For Progressives there's Equality and then there's Equaility.  Dan Proft today on one kind Progressives of the Teacher's Union sort quite willing to tolerate because the losing out is their fault, certainly not the teacher's.
2013 NAEP test scores are in for Illinois. 2/3rds of Illinois 4th graders do NOT read at 4th grade level. Nearly 2/3rds of Illinois 4th graders CANNOT do 4th grade level math. With all of this talk about equality from the Left, what about equality of educational opportunity for children left to rot in school systems that do not educate and have not educated children for successive generations? How much longer shall we rationalize systems that discriminate and thus foreclose opportunities based on zip code and HH income? Per the Left's after-the-fact prescriptions for the ravages of central planning, they won't be able to raise the minimum wage high enough, extend transfer payments long enough, or create social welfare schemes expansive enough to retrofit adults with critical thinking skills they should've acquired as children.


Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Declassified Bipartisan Report on Benghazi Terrorist Attacks

Here's the Press Release including a link to the report,
Press Release of Intelligence Committee Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Declassified Bipartisan Report on Benghazi Terrorist Attacks

Attacks were preventable based on known security shortfalls at State Department Mission in Benghazi

Analysts inaccurately referred to protests without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements, causing confusion for policymakers

18 recommendations to improve security, improve process for sharing unclassified information with policymakers

Contact: Brian Weiss (Feinstein), (202) 224-9629
Lauren Claffey (Chambliss), (202) 224-3423

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Washington—The Senate Intelligence Committee today issued a declassified report on the September 11-12, 2012, terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the Temporary Mission Facility and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya. The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.

The report—announced by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)—was approved by the committee in December 2013 by voice vote. The report includes 18 recommendations designed to improve security of American diplomatic and intelligence facilities abroad. In some cases, the State Department and the intelligence community (IC) have begun taking action to adopt the recommendations identified in the report.

The report is based on dozens of committee hearings, briefings and interviews—including with survivors of the attacks—and the review of thousands of pages of intelligence and State Department materials between September 2012 and December 2013.

Chairman Feinstein said: "The committee worked on a bipartisan basis to investigate the various allegations that have come out since the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in September 2012 and to get to the truth about what happened leading up to, during and after the attacks. I hope this report will put to rest many of the conspiracy theories and political accusations about what happened in Benghazi. I strongly believe we should focus on what really matters: honoring the four Americans who were killed, bringing the attackers to justice, ensuring accurate and actionable warnings of future terrorist attacks and making sure that all U.S. facilities personnel overseas have adequate security and protection."

Vice Chairman Chambliss said: "The committee's bipartisan report provides many needed and deserved answers to the American people, and most importantly, to the families of those killed in the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi. In spite of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and ample strategic warnings, the United States Government simply did not do enough to prevent these attacks and ensure the safety of those serving in Benghazi. I hope that the Administration—and most specifically, the Intelligence Community, the State Department, and our military—will review this bipartisan report carefully and quickly adopt the committee's recommendations."
Key Findings of the Report:
  • Significant Strategic Warning Provided by the Intelligence Community—In the months before the attacks on September 11, 2012, the IC provided strategic warning through numerous intelligence reports that the security situation in eastern Libya was deteriorating and that U.S. facilities and personnel were at risk in Benghazi.
  • State Department Failed to Increase Security Enough to Address the Threat—The State Department should have increased its security posture more significantly in Benghazi based on the deteriorating security situation on the ground and IC threat reporting on the prior attacks against Westerners in Benghazi—including two previous incidents at the Temporary Mission Facility on April 6, and June 6, 2012.
  • "Tripwires" Were Crossed, But Other Nations Kept Their Facilities Open Along with the U.S.—There were "tripwires" designed to prompt a reduction in personnel or a suspension of operations at the Mission facility in Benghazi and although there is evidence that some of them had been crossed, operations continued with minimal change. Some nations closed their diplomatic facilities in Benghazi as the security conditions deteriorated during the summer of 2012, but other nations stayed along with the United States, contrary to some public reports and statements that the U.S. was the last country represented in Benghazi.
  • U.S. Military Assets Were Not Positioned to Respond in Time to Save the Four Americans Killed—There were no U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend the Temporary Mission Facility and its Annex. Unarmed U.S. military surveillance assets were not delayed when responding to the attack, and they provided important situational awareness for those under siege during the attacks.
  • The Intelligence Picture After the Attacks Contributed to the Controversial CIA Talking Points—In intelligence reports after September 11, 2012, intelligence analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the U.S. mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC took too long to correct these erroneous reports, which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policymakers.
  • Failure to Bring the Attackers to Justice—More than a year after the Benghazi attacks, the terrorists who perpetrated the attack have still not been brought to justice. The IC has identified several individuals responsible for the attacks. Some of the individuals have been identified with a strong level of confidence. However, insight into the current whereabouts and links between these individuals in some cases is limited due in part to the nascent intelligence capabilities in the region.
Key Recommendations in the Report:
  • The State Department must ensure that security threats are quickly assessed and security upgrades are put into place with minimal bureaucratic delay.
  • Only in rare instances—and only after a formal risk management plan has been put into place—should State Department facilities that fall short of current security standards be allowed to operate, and facilities that do not meet these standards should be prioritized for additional security measures.
  • The IC should expand its capabilities to conduct analysis of open source information including extremist-affiliated social media, particularly in areas where it is hard to develop human intelligence or there has been recent political upheaval. Analysis of extremist-affiliated social media should be more clearly integrated into analytical products, when appropriate.
  • It is imperative that the State Department, Department of Defense and the IC work together to identify and prioritize the largest gaps in coverage for the protection of U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence personnel in the North Africa region and other high-threat posts around the world.
  • Intelligence analysts should more aggressively request and integrate eyewitness reporting—especially from U.S. government personnel—in the aftermath of a crisis.
  • In responding to future requests for unclassified talking points from Congress, the Intelligence Community should simply tell Congress which facts are unclassified and let Members of Congress provide additional context for the public.
  • The U.S. government cannot rely on local security in areas where the United States has facilities under high threat or where the host nation is not capable of providing adequate security.
  • The U.S. government must swiftly bring the attackers to justice, in spite of the unwillingness or lack of capacity of the Libyan government to assist in this effort.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Rep. Reboletti, Rep. Anthony, Rep. Ives Press Conference (Legislation in Response To The Hiring of a Convicted Gang Member Within The IL Dept. of Corrections

Hard to count on the community to report gang activity to the cops when they fear gangs influence with the Politicans. Three Illinois Pols respond here to Quinn's hiring of Gang Members for the Illinois Dept of Corrections.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

American ISIS Member From Chicago Active On Twitter And Facebook: 'Internet, Restaurants, Cars, iPhones... Allah Has Made... Jihad In Sham [Syria] So Easy'

Remember when Joe Walsh was bashed for telling us there were serious Jihadis in Chicago?

A.T., who traveled to Syria to join a jihad organization, states on his Twitter account that he is 25, from Chicago, and has joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He is yet another of the growing number of foreign fighters in Syria using social media – in his case, in addition to Twitter, he is active on Facebook and – to chronicle experiences, to communicate with fellow jihadis in Syria and in the West, and to answer questions about joining the jihad in Syria. His first tweet, on December 21, 2013, was: "Internet, Restaurants, Cars, iPhones... Allah has made Hijra and Jihad in Sham [Syria] so easy... why are we still clinging to the Earth and hesitating?"
BackgroundAccording to his Facebook account, created December 18, 2013, A.T. first arrived in Syria a year and a half ago, and joined Ahrar Al-Sham. He says on it that he left Syria temporarily due to an injury and returned to Aleppo on September 4, 2013; since then, according to his "About" section, he has been serving as a cook for ISIS. He also states that he speaks English, Classical Arabic, Syrian Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Pashto. His profile photo is of a young man, from chin to torso. As of this writing, his page was last updated December 27. 
His Facebook page includes photos of Osama bin Laden and a dead jihadi, ISIS posters, and an ISIS video. It also links to other Facebook accounts – one of which reports on a Muslim convert jihadi from Ontario, Canada killed in Syria. On his account, he states that he is American: "American 'Jihadi' or wtever they are calling it..inshAllah may Allah allow more and more [M]uslims to make hijra [emigrate to a jihad front] and jihad in his path!" His Twitter account also links to his account.