Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Teen arrested in Wikipedia Halloween threat

Hey, this story takes place in the Marathon Pundit neighborhood.

Wikipedia alerted Skokie, Illinois police about an unspecified Halloween threat against Niles West High School. A fourteen year-old student of the school allegedly posted the threat online--Skokie police arrested the student this morning.

Before the opening bell at Niles West, all 2,600 students passed through hand-held metal detectors before entering the school, according to NBC 5 Chicago.

The free-for-all method of posting on Wikipedia has drawn much controversy, and with this latest case, a new low has been reached.

Related Niles West post: Separation of church and state, but not the separation of mosque and state

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Chicago mayoral election poll: Daley leads Jesse Jr. by a wide margin

Despite continuing fallout over the Hired Truck Scandal, as well as controversies over the bulldozing of Meigs Field, the big-box-living-wage ordinance, and the overwhelming stench of graft emanating from City Hall, Mayor Richard M. Daley holds a commanding lead over Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. according to the latest ABC 7 Chicago/Daily Herald Poll.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is expected to challenge Daley for the coveted fifth floor City Hall office. Daley, who has been Chicago's mayor since 1989, is expected to run for re-election. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown is the only officially announced candidate for the February election.

According to the poll, in a head to head match up with Junior, Daley has the support of 66 percent of Chicago voters, Jackson garners only 25 percent. The rest are undecided.

Chicago uses a run-off system in its elections. If no candidate achieves 50 percent of the vote in the first tally, the top two face each other two months later in a second contest.

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Air America turkey of a sale before Turkey Day?

Well, Air America may have new owners before Thanksgiving, so says Business Week.

Air America Radio is talking to several parties about a possible sale and is hopeful of reaching a deal before Thanksgiving, a lawyer for the liberal talk radio network told a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday.

Tracy Klestadt told the court that the privately-held company was in discussions with seven different parties about a sale and was "very hopeful" of reaching a deal by Nov. 22, saying there was a "significant amount of interest."

The network, which went on the air with much fanfare two years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 13 after discussions with one of its creditors reached an impasse.

Slavery reparations zealot may block Chicago parking lot privatization

Chicago Alderman Dorothy "The Hat" Tillman has made herself somewhat of a national name by placing herself at the forefront of the slavery reparations debate. She favors reparations for slavery.

A year ago or so, the City of Chicago passed a law that does not ask for slavery reparations, but that legislation stipulated that any firm doing business with the city must disclose any ties or profits made from slavery.

Some view this law as a precursor to setting up a framework for reparations to be paid in the future.

Because it appears that the company chosen to run the soon to be privatized city parking garages, Morgan Stanley Investment Management may have had a predecessor company own slaves--as a result of a loan default, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.


Mayor Daley's $563 million plan to privatize the Millennium Park and Grant Park garages hit a surprise roadblock on Monday: The City Council's champion for slave reparations is threatening to seek a court order blocking the deal because she believes Morgan Stanley Investment Management lied about its past ties to slavery.
Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) is furious because the firm chosen to lease and operate the 9,178 downtown spaces for the next 99 years claimed in a sworn affidavit that neither it nor its "predecessor entities" had profited from or invested in slavery or slaveholder insurance.

According to Tillman, that's a "lie" laid bare by the evidence about Riggs, Peabody and Co., a predecessor of J.P. Morgan Chase, that her daughter uncovered in 2004 during exhaustive research at the Library of Congress.

The "slavery disclosure" law is just plain stupid. Yes, slavery was terrible, but
the law is a bad one.

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Halloween horror! Liberals take over The Right Place

Mr. Right sent me a frightening e-mail: His site has been take over by liberals! Click here to see if you can scare them off!

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Fallout from Pakistani madrassa bombing: Prince Charles cancels trip to Peshawar

Earlier today Pakistani forces bombed a madrassa, or Islamic school, killing 80 militants. The school was believed to be have run by al-Qaeda.

Yesterday Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Pakistan for a state visit. Tomorrow they had planned to visit Peshawar, a city in that notorious border tribal area of Pakistan. But at the suggestion of the Pakistani government, that visit has been cancelled.

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Outrage over Bill Maher Halloween costume: A wounded Steve Irwin

Comedian Bill Maher caused some outrage over the weekend by dressing up as Steve Irwin--wearing bloodstained khakis complete with stingray barb.

That's Maher pictured at a weekend party.

According to News.com Australia, a California alternative newspaper is even making fun of the late crocodile hunter's eight year-old daughter.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper recently published an article entitled Great Bad Ideas for Halloween Costumes, with the No.1 suggestion a Crocodile Hunter outfit.

The article came with an illustration of Irwin with a stingray on his chest.

"Kids and grown-ups alike will stare you down with white-hot horror when you strut around in your khaki ensemble with a pissed-off sea creature piercing your chest," wrote Cheryl Eddy and Kimberly Chun.

"Too soon? Hell, no. If Irwin's eight-year-old can get her own Discovery Kids television show, you can certainly make sport of her nature-loving pop's freaky demise.

Here's the link to the San Francisco Bay Guardian article.

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Latest Ill. 6th & 8th District polls: Races are dead heat

West of Chicago is the 6th Congressional District, where Republican Henry Hyde is retiring. Iraq war veteran turned opponent of the war, Democrat Tammy Duckworth and her Republican counterpart, Peter Roskam, are in a statistical tie according to the latest ABC 7 Chicago/Daily Herald poll.

Northwest of Chicago is the 8th District. Incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean, who unseated longtime but lethargic Republican Phil Crane two years ago, has been leading in most polls over Republican David McSweeney. But the pair is in a statistical tie in this race too, according to the ABC 7 and the Daily Herald.

Both seats are traditionally strong Republican strongholds, although like the rest of Illinois, the districts have been trending Democratic in recent years.

The results of the poll in the 6th is consistent with other survey--however, in the 8th, most other polls have Bean leading. Since 2004, the 8th has been looked at by the GOP has an excellent opportunity to unseat a Democratic incumbent.

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DePaul's Norman Finkelstein belittles Daniel Pipes

DePaul's resident Holocaust-minimize Norman Finkelstein is at it again with his childish cheap shots.

Recently, a new magazine called 02138 listed the most influential living Harvard alumni. President Bush topped the list, the runner up was Bill Gates.

Coming in at #84 was esteemed Middle East scholar and friend-of-the-blog Daniel Pipes.

Here is the subhead of Finkelstein's press release on his take of Pipes' inclusion on that list:

Pipes makes cut-off; Hitler at #104 just misses

Finkelsein: What a loon.

Hat tip to Dr. Steven Plaut in Haifa.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Latest Ill. gov poll: Blagojevich leads Topinka by 9 points, Green Party candidate at 11 percent

Despite his enormity of bad press--well deserved, I'd like to add--against him, incumbent Rod Blagojevich leads his Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka in the latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll, 47 percent to 38 percent.

Going back to the Republican primary, Topinka has been forced to fight to improve her image because of constant negative ads run against her.

Oh, Judy has been hitting Blago hard--both candidates negative ratings are quite high, but with Illinois' status as a solid blue state not in jeopardy, Blagojevich is doing just enough to keep a safe lead for himself with a little more than a week to go before election day.

However, there seems to be no end to the flow of corruption stories about the Blagojevich administration.

In his 2003 inaugural address, Blagojevich told Illinoisans:

I will govern as a reformer.

It hasn't happened, his administration is at least as corrupt as his predecessor's, future jailbird George Ryan.

Rich Whitney, the Green Party candidate is the beneficiary of voter disillusionment with the major party candidates--he has the support of 11 percent of likely voters according to the Post-Dispatch poll, and that number is consistent with other recent surveys.

Greenies tend to attract voters from the Democratic base, but Whitney is a strong supporter of gun-owner rights--saying he backs "responsible ownership of guns."

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"My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place"

Here's my final installment of my latest photo series, posted in reverse order, of the Marathon Pundit family trip to Kentucky and Tennessee.

Abraham Lincoln lived with his family at a farm at Knob Creek near Hodgenville, Kentucky in a cabin similar to the one pictured here, residing there from 1811-1816. The Lincolns then moved to southern Indiana

In an 1860 letter, the future president wrote:

My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place.

Ten miles to the west, Lincoln was born in another log cabin, much like the one pictured a couple of posts down.

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Chicago Bears crush 49ers, 41-10

The undefeated Chicago Bears showed why they're undefeated this afternoon but destroying the San Francisco 49ers 41-10.

The Bears went into halftime leading 41-0, so the final score is not indicative of the level of domination Chicago had over San Francisco.

2006 very well could be the Bears' year.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Abraham Lincoln birthplace site's log cabin

The log cabin pictured here is not believed to be the actual structure where Abraham Lincoln was born on February 9, 1809, but a well-meaning reproduction.

The cabin is located in a neo-classical building (scroll down a few posts) in Hodgenville Kentucky, on the site of the Sinking Spring Farm, the Lincoln family farm for a few years.

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What if they called a war protest and no one came?

During the 1960s, there was a pacificist saying, "What if they called a war and no one came?"

In the entire course of human history, that has not happened.

But on Chicago's Near West Side today, the Chicago Police found out what happens when a war protest is called, and then canceled, and no one shows up. You get hundreds of cops--many of them in riot gear--standing around looking for something to do. What else occurs? A lot of taxpayer money is wasted and there's a lot of finger pointing.

Months ago, the Illinois Anti-War Coalition requested a permit for a rally to be held today in the Washington Square neighborhood. So the police figured there would be a protest.

From ABC 7 Chicago:

The organizer of the protest, John Beacham, says his group instead decided to pass out anti-war flyers throughout neighborhoods. He says the mix up is the city's fault.

"We never got a permit from the city," said John Beacham, Illinois Anti-War Coalition.

The police showed us what they say is the permit -- approved months ago -- with John Beacham's name right at the top.

"I know nothing about that. We applied for a permit and there was never any confirmation of the permit from the city and a long time ago we decided not to have a demonstration," said Beacham.

Beacham made a ridiculous claim that the Chicago Police should've known the rally was cancelled, stating "The city is usually spying on us and watching us carefully, so we just figured they understood there wasn't a demonstration today."

There's plenty of idiocy to go around with this story.

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Mr. Right's new World Series photo caption contest

St. Louis Cardinal hard-hitting infielder Albert Pujols is the subject of this week's photo caption contest. Enter here.

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Technorati: No progress

Well, Technorati is still overlooking Marathon Pundit. My case # is 53633.

Hoosier GOP congressman does not want Bush's help in campaign

If the Republican party retains control of the house, this guy might find his committee assignments not to his liking. John Hostettler's southern Indiana district is a conservative one, if he's in trouble this year, perhaps the blame goes to Hostettler, not the president.

From the Chicago Tribune, free registration required.

Members of Congress running for re-election know they're in trouble when, this late in the campaign, they need to ask the president to parachute in, put a warm arm around them, shake down the locals for campaign cash, and hopefully drag them across the finish line.

But here on the banks of the Ohio River the incumbent congressman is in such extremis that he believes a visit by President Bush would hurt more than help.

"George Bush is not a message I want to talk about," Rep. John Hostettler said before an appearance this week at an Evansville vocational school.

Hostettler does want to talk about the war in Iraq (he voted against it in 2002 but thinks there should be more troops on the ground now); stemming the tide of what he called "illegal aliens"; and warning of the prospect of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whom Hostettler charges in a radio ad would promote a "homosexual agenda."

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Abraham Lincoln birthplace site

This structure, located near Hodgenville, Kentucky, holds what's believed to the birthplace of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

I'll have a picture of the cabin tomorrow, that's Little Marathon Pundit and I walking up the stairs of the memorial building.

This is the latest picture from our family vacation to Kentucky and Tennessee.

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Congratulations St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions

I had a lot more fun with my post last year when the Chicago White Sox won the World Series, but congratulations are still due to this year's champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

And a personal note of good cheer goes to my good friend--and Cardinals fan--Dan Curry, who is doing the best Blagojevich blogging out there at Reverse Spin.

UPDATE 8:35AM Sat 10/28: Gateway Pundit photblogged last night's game.

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More bad news for Gov. Blagojevich: Top fundraiser pleads guilty

Stuart Levine is the personification of what is wrong with Illinois politics. He was appointed to two seats on Illinois boards by Republicans. Democrat Rod Blagojevich kept him on, and Levine continued as a soldier in what Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass calls "The Combine," the bi-partisan machine of graft, corruption, and sleaze that has run Illinois for decades.

Today Levine pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering today in a Chicago federal court.

From AP:

A businessman who funneled thousands of dollars into Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign pleaded guilty Friday to using his seats on two state boards in a bid to collect millions of dollars in kickbacks.

But Stuart Levine's plea agreement with federal prosecutors contained no direct charge of wrongdoing on the part of the governor, who is waging a reelection campaign while coping with a federal corruption investigation.

All the same, the 58-page plea agreement was crammed with details of corruption in state government and guaranteed to fuel campaign fireworks.

Levine said that to get his power he drew on access to unspecified higher-ups in state government and in April 2004 sought to squeeze an investment firm for $1.5 million in campaign contributions to "a certain public official" in exchange for $220 million in state pension business.

According to a source close to the investigation, that "certain public official" is Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Much will be made by the Blagojevich camp that Levine was a Republican appointee. But Blago re-appointed him. Besides, Blagovevich promised Illinoisans that he would "end business as usual" in the state. Perhaps that's one promise he's kept. Blagojevich has made Illinois even more like such ethically-barren states such as Rhode Island, Louisiana, and New Jersey.

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Jimmy Carter calls for US troops to leave Iraq in a year

Taking advice from Jimmy Carter on Middle Eastern issues is kind of like doing the same with Bill Clinton and abstinence.

From AP:

Former US Democratic president Jimmy Carter called for US troops to be "totally" withdrawn from Iraq "within the next year or so."

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Ill. Gov's wife involvement in questionable real estate deal latest embarrassment for Democrat

Governor Rod Blagojevich, (D-IL), has another ethical problem at his doorstep. Actually, it goes past the doorstep and into his Northwest Side Chicago home. This one involves his wife, Patti.

Left out of the media reports is that Patti is the daughter of powerful Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, so it's ridiculous to assume that Patti is just some naive real estate broker unaware of "how things get done" in Illinois.

From the Chicago Tribune, free registration required:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's wife earned more than $113,000 in real estate commissions this year through a woman who holds a longstanding, no-bid state contract and whose banker husband has business pending before state regulators.

The four real estate deals involving the Chicago couple Anita and Amrish Mahajan, the last of which closed Sept. 28, account for the only commissions Patricia Blagojevich has earned this year.

The governor's office scoffed at questions about whether it is a conflict of interest for the governor's spouse to make money from a couple whose businesses depend on decisions made by the Blagojevich administration.

Here's my favorite part:
"I didn't hire her," (Anita) Mahajan said in a brief interview from the balcony of her Chicago townhouse. "I didn't even know who she was until closing. That's when I heard she was the governor's wife. I try not to get involved in politics."

Rod Blagojevich faces the voters next month. He's being challenged by Republican Judy Baar Topinka and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney. Blagojevich is leading in all polls, and Whitney is polling surprising well, reaching double digits in some surveys.

Topinka has so far been unable to capitalize on the corruption charges made against the Blagjovevich administration.

For those who don't want to deal with the Tribune registration process, AP has a summary of the Chicago Tribune story here.

Related posts: Top Gov. Blagojevich advisor and fundraiser indicted in kickback scheme

Illinois' Gov. Blagojevich: Sweetheart real estate assessment?

Blagojevich kiddie check story catching fire in Illinois

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"St. Barack" Obama uses e-mail

From NRO's "Sixers" blog:

Obama and Lamont [Greg Pollowitz 10/27 09:11 AM]

AP Headline: Lamont gets lift from Obama
The reality of the lift:
HARTFORD, Conn. —Ned Lamont got a boost Thursday from one of the Democratic party's brightest rising stars, Sen. Barack Obama.

The Illinois senator and potential 2008 presidential candidate sent an e-mail message to his Connecticut supporters urging them to rally behind Lamont's challenge to three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman.

"Ned Lamont has waged an impressive grass roots campaign to give the people of Connecticut a choice in the November Senate election," Obama wrote. "Please join me in supporting Ned Lamont with your hard work on-the-ground in these closing weeks of the campaign."

The Lamont camp said Obama's e-mail went to about 5,000 Connecticut residents.

Wow. He hit "send".

The junior senator from Illinois has seen just one of his bills enacted into law since becoming a US Senator almost two years ago.

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Technorati green turns blue again

The blog search engine Technorati has once again decided to ignore my blog. It's been two days since the blog search engine captured one of my posts.

I went to the "Contact Us" page, filled out the form and got a canned e-mail response. Here's an excerpt:

If you don't hear back from anyone within a week, please accept our
apologies for the delay as we may be experiencing a backlog in Support.

They gave me a case number, though. It's 53633.

Marathon Pundit went through a month-long Technorati drought earlier this year.

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Partial settlement in E2 nightclub stampede case

Three and a half years ago, 21 patrons of Chicago's E2 nightclub were killed in a stampede after club security used pepper spray to break up a fight--after which the frightened customers fled toward an exit--that was bolted shut.

From AP:

A judge has approved a partial settlement in which families of 21 people killed in a 2003 Chicago nightclub stampede will receive $1.5 million, attorneys announced Thursday.

Under the settlement approved Wednesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Kathy M. Flanagan, E2 club owners Calvin Hollins and Dwain Kyles and building owner Lesly Benodin will pay into a fund established for the plaintiffs.

They were then dismissed as defendants in a lawsuit filed by the victims' families.

But Kyles; Hollins; Hollins' son, Calvin Hollins III; and a fourth man, party promoter Marco Flores, still face criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter in the Feb. 17, 2003, stampede, said Melvin Brooks, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys. All four have pleaded not guilty.

This case has become an issue in the Tennessee US Senate race. The campaign fund of the Democratic candidate, Harold Ford, Jr., donated $1,000 to the defense fund of E2 owner Dwain Kyles.

Related post: Harold Ford Jr. and Chicago's E2 nightclub tragedy

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mammoth Cave National Park flowstone

Mammoth Cave doesn't have the delicate intricacies of South Dakota's Wind Cave--a park I visited in 2004--or the stalachtite symphony of New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns (I haven't been there), but it does have some cave unique structures such as this flowstone.

The Marathon Pundit family visited Tennessee and Kentucky earlier this month. Scroll down to see earlier entries in this series.

UPDATED! Windypundit photographs the Chicago Marathon, Parts 1-5

Mark Draughn over at Windypundit is a busy man with a worn out camera. He literally took thousands of pictures of the many participants in Sunday's Chicago Marathon. He estimates that he got a picture of about 20 percent of the runners that day.

I did an earlier post about his work, but this one condenses things much better.

Camped out at Chinatown that morning, Mark was at the 21-mile spot.

See if you can find yourself, a loved one, or a friend.

Part one of Mark's series: Before 10:45 AM (i.e. a 7:43 pace with a projected finish of 3:22:03)
Part two: After 10:45 AM (i.e. a 7:43 pace with a projected finish at 3:22:05) but before 11:05 AM (i.e. a 8:40 pace with a projected finish of 3:46:53)
Part three: After 11:05 AM (i.e. a 8:40 pace with a projected finish at 3:46:54) but before 11:37:20 (i.e. a 10:09 pace with a projected finish of 4:26:05)
Part four: After 11:37:21 (i.e. a 10:09 pace with a projected finish at 4:26:06) but before 11:51:13 (i.e. a 10:48 pace with a projected finish of 4:43:05)
Part five: After 11:51:15 (i.e. a 10:48 pace with a projected finish at 4:43:07) but before 12:05:36 (i.e. a 11:29 pace with a projected finish of 5:00:41)

UPDATE: Sat. 10/28: Part six, the last installment, is up.

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One year ago today: White Sox win World Series

Of course the baseball world's eyes are fixed on St. Louis where the Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers meet for Game Four of this year's World Series. But a year ago tonight in Houston, the Chicago White Sox completed their sweep of the Astros in the fall classic.

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Ill. gov race: GOP, Green Party candidates to debate tonight

Republican Judy Baar Topinka and the Green Party's Rich Whitney, both candidates in the Illinois governor's race, have agreed to a televised debate this evening in Chicago.

The incumbent, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, has not indicated if he will take part in the debate, which is being organized by the local PBS affiliate.

Topinka and Blagojevich blame each other for the shortage of debates between the two major party candidates.

Oprah speaks up for Holocaust education

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey lives and works within a few miles of DePaul University's Chicago campuses. Perhaps she can drop by DePaul and visit Holocaust- minimizer and DePaul Professor Norman G. Finkelstein and have a sit-down with him. Maybe Dr. Phil can join in.

From the Daily Herald:

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey told 3,000 supporters of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday that she is still haunted by her trip earlier this year to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"I still cannot even imagine what it was like to go through a concentration camp and come out alive and sane," she said at a fundraiser for the museum. "I couldn't take it all in when I was there. I couldn't wrap my brain around it."

Winfrey traveled to Poland in January for a two-part episode with scholar and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. She also selected Weisel's memoir, "Night," for her book club.

"Those millions and millions and millions who did not survive want us to never forget the hopes they sacrificed on the killing fields," she said during her 15-minute speech at a lunchtime fundraiser for the Washington, D.C. museum.

Related posts: Moron Finkelstein and DePaul

DePaul's Finkelstein crosses the line again, calls Jews "Shylock"

2004 report: DePaul's Norman Finkelstein being sued for libel

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Pajamas Media's Politics Central podcast with Jaron Lanier

In a wide and wild-ranging interview in which artificial intelligence, Enigma code breaker Alan Turing, Wikipedia, and the questionable sexuality of Second Life avatars are discussed, Politics Central's Alan Keen of After TV tries to pin down Digital Maoism's Jaron Lanier. He wrote the online essay Digital Maoism.

Listen or download here. Free subscriptions to Politics Central are available at the iTunes web site.

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Wal-Mart continues to expand generic drug program

According to Associated Press, another 12 states--which makes the total 27--will soon benefit from Wal-Mart's $4 generic drug program.

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RNC pulls controversial Corker ad

This controversial television commercial, produced and paid for by the Republican National Committee but denounced by the candidate it is supposed to support, has been pulled.

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr. called national Republican ads that have been running against him "slimy, sleazy and smut" after speaking to a Knoxville women's group Wednesday.

"What they're putting up is trash and smut," Ford said.

That was shortly after learning that the Republican National Committee has agreed to pull one of the two controversial ads from the airways. And some TV stations have suspended the broadcasting of the second ad, pending a review of its accuracy.

Republican Senate nominee Bob Corker has said since the controversy began with the airing of the ad called "Who Hasn't?" on Friday that he has no control over whether the ad runs. He said it should come down. Corker has made that statement on national television.

Related post: Harold Ford Jr. and Chicago's E2 nightclub tragedy

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Modem and hard drive problems

I've spent a good part of today getting a double whammy of computer problems solved today. I had to reseat my memory, by taking the eMachines tower apart. Prior to that, my Siemens 4100 modem fried.

I made the error of taking my desktop to Best Buy, where I bought the machine, and was treated quite rudely.

Oh, there will be a post on Best Buy soon, that'll be for sure.

What a day!

Chicago Tribune columnist Zorn scolds Cong. Bean for deceptive ad

Eric Zorn, a Chicago Tribune columnist--and onetime marathon runner--has some harsh words in his blog about the Democratic incumbent in Illinois' 8th Congressional District, Melissa Bean.

From his Change of Subject weblog:

North Suburban Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean has a new TV commercial that all but dares me to wag my dreaded finger at her again. It says:

The press calls (Republican challenger) Dave McSweeney's attacks on Melissa Bean "a lie," "a gross misrepresentation," " a disgrace."

The on-screen citation is to the end of my Oct. 17 column in which, indeed, I wrote that a claim in a McSweeney ad was "a lie and a gross misrepresentation--a disgrace, a character issue, a forfeiture of McSweeney's right to complain."

Two points of irony. First is that the top 4/5ths of that column was devoted to critiquing a misrepresentation in a Bean commercial. Second is that, in that closing portion of the column, I specifically took McSweeney to task for taking the opinions of one commentator about a Bean commercial and referring to that as the view of "the press:"

Bean unseated the longtime Republican representative of the 8th, Phil Crane, two years ago. The Republican National Committee targeted the 8th as an excellent opportunity for the GOP to take a seat from the Democrats. However, Bean has a comfortable lead in most polls.

McSweeney has a lot of cash on hand for the closing days of the race, so the contest may yet become close.

Related post: Bush in Chicago for House fundraisers

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California soon to become the Cheesehead State

According to an AP report, the state of California may soon pass Wisconsin to become the nation's top producer of cheese.

One thing left out of this AP report is that much of Caifornia's success in dairy farming, according to a farmer acquaintance of mine, comes from irrigation.

Wisconsin gets it's water, for the most part, from the ground beneath.

From AP:

Aided by savvy marketing, California says it will soon pass Wisconsin to become the nation's top cheese producer.

''California cheeses are really looked upon as coming of age,'' said Christine Hyatt, a grocery consultant.

But Patrick Geoghegan of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board said, ''The title 'America's Dairyland' is about more than just producing the greatest amount. . . . It's about cheese quality, quality, quality.''

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another League of Villains update: Belarus foreign minister in Tehran

From the always interesting Tehran Times:

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told visiting Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov on Sunday that most countries, especially independent countries, have come under pressure in the current unipolar world system. The president said, "Cooperation among friendly countries to break this unjust system is a necessity."

The Islamic Republic of Iran is firmly committed to boosting relations with independent countries like Belarus, he added.

Iran and Belarus are in consensus on many economic and political issues, he said, adding that mutual cooperation, especially in the energy and defense industries, should be strengthened.

Belarusian President Alekasandr Lukashenko is to visit Iran in the near future.

Related posts: Latest from the The League of Villains: Ahmadinejad awards Chavez

This can't be good...Sudanese president in Iran

League of Villains update: Senior Iranian and Cuban meet

The League of Villains and China: the Left's great red hope against the USA

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Windypundit has a Chicago Marathon photo series

Here is just one of many photos Mark Draughn of Windypundit took during Sunday's Chicago Marathon. Mark was camped out at my favorite part of the course, mile 21, Chinatown, on the city's South Side.

This runner probably caught Windypundit's eye because his mother told him the same thing she told me, "You lose the most heat from your head."

It was cold and breezy on race day, I wore a singlet--a tank top that is--and a skimpy runner's cap, and I spent most of yesterday with a 101-degree fever.

I wondered how this runner ended up?

There are a lot more marathon photos up at Windypundit. And that's just part one of his series. Here is part two, where Draughn thinks he may have photographed up to 20-percent of the middle-of-the-pack runners. If you ran the race, see if you can find your picture. Of if you didn't, perhaps you'll spot a familiar face. I'll keep looking, but so far, I haven't found a picture of myself. Mark made a big effort to take my picture during the race, and even signed up for athlete-tracking on his cell phone to find me, but according to the Windypundit, I dropped off his radar screen at the 15km mark.

UPDATE 8:00AM Oct. 25: Mark in the comments informs me that he has pictures of up to 20% of all the Chicago Marathon participants. Also, Mark informs me that part three is up on Windypundit.

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Historical graffiti in Mammoth Cave

Back to my series of the Marathon Pundit vacation to Kentucky and Tennessee earlier this month.

When does graffiti become a relic? When it survives long enough.

In the 19th-century days of Mammoth Cave tours, it was an accepted practice for tourists to mark the cave with their names, as the otherwise forgotten Mal Napier did many years ago.

Related posts:

Next UN chief delusional?

From AFP:

The next United Nations secretary-general has promised to end a "crisis of confidence" and heal divisions hampering the work of the world body.

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, who takes over from Kofi Annan on January 1, said rebuilding trust in the UN must be a top priority.

Don't count on it.

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Montana senate race too close to call

Until the Abramoff scandal hit about a year ago, incumbent Conrad Burns (R-MT), was looking like a sure-thing for re-election in 2006. The race is too close to call, but like it's red-state neighbor to the east, North Dakota, Montana may have two Democratic senators in January, 2006.

From the Billings Gazette:

Democratic challenger Jon Tester and Republican Conrad Burns are now running about even in Montana's fiercely contested U.S. Senate race, a new statewide poll shows.

The latest poll shows Tester with 46 percent of the support of likely Montana voters to Burns' 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. Libertarian Stan Jones had 2 percent.

Because Tester's 3 percentage point lead falls within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points, that means Tester and Burns are considered to be running "about even," according to The Associated Press polling guidelines.

This poll of 625 likely Montana voters was taken Oct. 17-19 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., for McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC.

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Marathon fall being investigated

Scroll down to read my previous posts on the Chicago Marathon and the finish line fall of the race's winner, Kenya's Robert Cheruiyot.

Chicago Marathon Race Director Carey Pinkowski doensn't believe that the race decal on the pavement contributed to Cheruiyot's fall, as this Chicago Tribune (free reg. required) reports.

Another marathon official notes that other races use such decals, and the Chicago Marathon has utilized them the last five years without incident. However, I ran those five marathons, and it didn't rain those years, as it did on Sunday.

I'll continue to keep an eye on this story.

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Seals' deceptive ads and "moderate" Obama

In Illinois' 10th District, incumbent Republican Mark Kirk is in a close race with his Democratic challenger, Dan Seals. Bob from Crazy Politico's Rantings has an interesting post up about the deceptive TV commercials being run by Seals.

Oh, he gets one in on that "moderate" Obama, too.

Want to know how partisan your current member of congress is? Wonder how often he or she votes with their party?

Jessica McBride has a link up to the Hill Monitor, where you can get that information.

For instance, Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois, mentioned this weekend that he's mulling a run for President, and is consistently praised in the Illinois media for independence. If you read the Hill Monitor Loyalty Rankings to check his independence they show he voted along party lines 94.97% of the time. That's more often than Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. Of course, he's got the State's senior Senator, Dick Durbin to emulate, who was just a tick ahead at 95%.

The rankings are interesting to look through if you want a way to get past the hype of the current crop of TV commericals. For instance, Mark Kirk who represents a district just south of me has been getting beat up by Dan Seals, his opponent for always voting with Bush. However, the "Loyalty Report" puts Kirk in the bottom 20% of Republican's for "party loyalty" along voting lines.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Injured marathon winner to be released from hospital Tuesday

Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, the winner of the men's division in yesterdays Chicago Marathon, will be released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital yesterday. Cheruiyot suffered bleeding on the brain, a brain bruise, and a minor concussion.

According to AP, the Kenyan received three CAT scans. He's been advised to take up to three months off before running again. But Cheruiyot is expected to make a full recovery.

Chicago Tribune columnist, blogger and onetime marathoner Eric Zorn is blaming Cheruiyot's fall on the glossy Chicago Marathon logo strategically placed just before the finish line, and viewing the video seems to prove Zorn's version of the event.

Falls are not unusual in marathons, particularly late in the race. I saw a runner fall at the final refreshment station, she slipped on accumulated wet gatorade cups.

It was a drizzly day yesterday in Chicago.

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Famed private investigator Ernie Rizzo dies

Well-known private investigator Ernie Rizzo died yesterday.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

Mr. Rizzo was based in Chicago, but he also investigated numerous high-profile cases from across the nation. Among them were the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, the 1993 abuse accusations against Michael Jackson, and numerous celebrity divorce cases, according to news clips and Mr. Rizzo’s Web site. He was also involved with cases brought by Yoko Ono, as well as the Wrigley family, and the search for Charlie Chaplin's body.

I loved watching his commentary on celebrity cases, particularly on the various atrocities surrounding pop singer Michael Jackson. He was a frequent guest on Fox & Friends.

American Thinker puts Obama mania in perspective

After ten days of drippy valentines appearing in the media for Democrat "St. Barack" Obama of Hyde Park, the junior senator from Illinois is brought down to size by Richard Baehr of the American Thinker.

Obama, in his defense, did get his first bill enacted into law last month. Last week Barack appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, and also received a 2008 endorsement from Oprah Winfrey if he decides to run for president in 2008.

It's a pity to excerpt his article, the whole thing is of course is worth reading. And re-reading.

Newsweek, not to be outdone, graces its cover with a picture of Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. now running for the open senate seat being vacated by Bill Frist in Tennessee. Newsweek tells us these Democrats (Ford, as an example) are "not your daddy’s Democrats."

Well, then, what of Republican Michael Steele involved in a close race for the open senate seat in Maryland? Or Lynn Swann, running as a Republican for Governor of Pennsylvania? Or Ken Blackwell, running as a Republican candidate for Governor in Ohio? One might say, if one had any interest in these candidates (or their party), that with three black candidates running statewide, this was not your "daddy’s Republicans" either.

It is far more likely you will see a national news story about the Democratic candidate for Governor in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, also an African American, than about Blackwell or Swann this year.

Why are the Democratic African American candidates of so much greater interest to the national media than the Republican African American candidates running state wide this year? Silly question, of course.

It's hearsay, but I've heard rumblings that as a state senator, Obama didn't have a long list of legislative accomplishments, either. Of course, he can't use the excuse that he was a member of the minority party while serving in Springfield, one that Obama defenders use now that he's a US senator.

Related post: Illinois' unhappy Democratic family

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DePaul's Norman Finkelstein: MEMRI equals Nazis

MEMRI is the Middle East Media Research Institute, a self-described non-partisan group that translates inflammatory news reports from native languages into English. I believe they form an invaluable service.

For instance, MEMRI found this quote from an Islamist web site, commenting on a German web site that posted something they viewed as anti-Islamic:

The author concludes by urging the readers to circulate his list of websites, and adds: "Perhaps Allah will produce someone who will [punish] this depraved person as an example to others, and will demonstrate to the Crusaders and to the Jews that the Islamic youth will never keep quiet in the face of any insult to their religion and their Prophet..."

Meanwhile in Chicago, DePaul University's Norman Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science, on his web site equates MEMRI with Nazis, as you'll see in the headline for this Finkelstein piece on his web site, Normanfinkelstein.com.

Hat tip to Dr. Steven Plaut in Haifa.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another reason to visit Marathon Pundit--Breitbart newsfeeds

Via Pajamas Media, I've added a newsfeed directly below the first ad in the lefthand column. I often joke with my friends that Marathon Pundit should be their only source of news. Now I can say that to them with a straight face.

The feed has two tabs: One of course is for Breitbart, the other shows the latest posts on Pajamas Media.

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Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review on "The Looming Tower"

In a special podcast of Blog Week in Review, moderator Austin Bay is joined by Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club and author Lawrence Wright. The three discuss Wright's new book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Wright began writing the book on the morning of September 11, 2001.

Ed Driscoll produces the podcast.

Free subsriptions to Blog Week in Review are available on the iTunes web site.

Pajamas Blog Week in Review is sponsored by Volvo.

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Update on eBay auction for SC Eagle's wife

The eBay auction link is here. Ellicia, the wife of SC Eagle, is suffering from brain, breast, and lung cancer.

Andrea and Mark of Constitutional Public Radio, have organized an eBay auction for three books generously donated (and autographed) by author Buzz Patterson. Those books are:

Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security


Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Endangered America's Long-Term National Security

As well as the soon-to-be-released...

War Crimes - The Left's Campaign to Eliminate the Military and Lose the War on Terror

Third Wave Dave e-mailed me yesterday with good news. Author and talk radio host Hugh Hewitt is promoting the eBay auction on his Townhall blog. Bidding is up to $401. Once again, here's the eBay link.

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My 2006 Chicago Marathon: 3 hours 41 minutes; men's winner hurt in fall

I was hoping to run at 3 hour and 30 minute race in this morning's Chicago Marathon, but I felt a bit short of that, finishing the 26 mile race at 3:41:30. Since I didn't adequately train for this race, I should be happy with my effort, and I am.

The weather conditions fell a bit short of perfect. 50 degrees Fahrenheit is considered ideal, the race temperature was in the low 40s. Also, it was pretty windy, gusts were up to 20 miles per hours and the last three miles of the race were against the wind. The wind chill was 30 degrees.

The picture above is just a small portion of the mass of humanity that participated in the race.

There were about 40,000 runners who started the race. I was the 6,583rd to cross the finish line.

The winner of the men's division was Robert Cheruyiot, who fell and hit his head at the finish, his time was 2:07:35. Cheruyiot is being treated at a Chicago hospital and is being treated for bleeding on the brain.

Ethiopia's Berhane Adere won the women's division, with a 2:20:42.

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Chicago Marathon morning

Well, another Chicago Marathon morning. Once again, my race number is 7525. I'm going to try--I'm not in tip-top shape--to pace someone into a Boston Marathon qualifying time. That means 3 hours 30 seconds for his, as well as my own, age group.

Oh, sorry for the lack of posts yesterday, Blogger.com was down.

Thanks Bill Baar and Anne Leary for the "Good luck" wishes. I'm going to need it.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Paris mayor auctions off wine from Chirac-era cellar

Before he was elected president of France, Jacques Chirac was the mayor of Paris. While mayor, the connoisseur of fine wine built up quite an impressive wine cellar--presumably at taxpayer expense. But now, the current mayor, a socialist, is auctioning off some of that wine to benefit the treasury of the City of Lights.

From AFP:

Paris City Hall put thousands of bottles from its world-class wine cellar, dating from Jacques Chirac's tenure as mayor, under the hammer, in an auction set to draw wine buffs from around the globe.

Some 5,000 bottles from the city's 7,000-strong hospitality cellar -- including a dozen Chateau Petrus Bordeaux wines from 1990 expected to fetch up to 2,500 euros (3,150 dollars) apiece -- were to be sold to the highest bidder.


The Socialist mayor filed suit in 2003 over the allegedly exorbitant entertaining expenses incurred under (Chirac's) tenure, but the country's highest court of appeal threw out the case last year under the statute of limitations.

An audit revealed that Chirac and his wife Bernadette spent more than two million euros on dinners and receptions at the Hotel de Ville between 1987 and 1995, when he stepped down to become president.

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George Michael: Marijuana keeps me sane, smokes joint on camera

I'm not confident about taking the advice from someone who once was caught in a public washroom while "touching himself," in regards to issues of mental health, but one-time pop star George Michael thinks differently, bbviously.

From Reuters:

Pop star George Michael said smoking cannabis kept him "sane and happy" and appeared to light up a joint during an interview on ITV, ITV said on Friday.

The comments have landed the former Wham! frontman in hot water with mental health groups and drug charities concerned about the message Michael's comments will send to young people.

"All drugs have potential to harm and that is the principal message we need to get across," William Butler, spokesman for the Addaction drugs charity, told the Evening Standard.

A spokeswoman for the 43-year-old singer, who recently embarked on a comeback tour, said he had no comment to make in reaction to the latest controversy.

What a loser.

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My 17th Chicago Marathon is Sunday

My bib number is #7525, and it should be easy for me to track my performance on Sunday in my 17th consecutive Chicago Marathon. The race starts at 8am Central Time.

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October 20: One year ago, Ward Churchill spoke at Chicago's DePaul University

On September 15, 2004, longtime DePaul adjunct professor Thomas Klocek got involved in an out of classroom discussion with some Muslim DePaul students. Klocek defended Israel from some ludricous accusations from those "scholars." Klocek's words actions that day got him fired.

Meanwhile, the angry Left views plagiarist, fabricator, and America-hater Ward Churchill as a champion of free speech. So in the spirit that smothers modern academia, the one-day-to-be-fired Ward Churchill spoke for a reputed $5,000 fee at DePaul last October 20 inside the DePaul Student Activities Center.

As this FIRE report explains, the October 20 Ward Churchill appearance was another embarrasment for the Chicago Catholic school. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, was forced to open a second case against the school because of DePaul University attempts to censor some students who wanted to protest Ward Churchill's appearance.

Enough about Ward Churchill. Let get Thomas Klocek his job back at DePaul. Sign here.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

eBay auction for SC Eagle's wife has begun

Ellicia, the wife of milblogger SC Eagle, is quite ill with brain, breast, and lung cancer. They have a growing pile of bills to take care of, and to help the family out, Andrea Shea King and Mark Vance, the Radio Patriots, have organized an eBay auction that began earlier tonight. And there's already bidding taking place.

Buzz Patterson, like myself a onetime guest on their Constitutional Public Radio show, has graciously donated autographed copies of three of his books:

Those books once again are:

Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security


Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Endangered America's Long-Term National Security

As well as the soon-to-be-released...

War Crimes - The Left's Campaign to Eliminate the Military and Lose the War on Terror

Bid now! Here is the eBay link.

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Pajamas Media's Sanity Squad podcast on North Korea and "Canned Hams"

Siggy on the Sanity Squad thinks our Democratic congressmen are nothing but a bunch of "canned hams." We'll see in a few weeks how many of those hams are spoiled.

Actually, to be fair to the Dems, Siggy and the other members of the Sanity Squad, Dr. Sanity, neo-neocon, and Shrinkwrapped aren't impressed by our Republican congress-folk either.

North Korea is the second topic discussed by the Sanity Squad in their latest podcast, which is available here.

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Mammoth Cave National Park's Green River

Well, take me back down where cool water flows, yeah.
Let me remember the things I don't know,
Stopping at the log where catfish bite,
Walking along the river road at night,
Barefoot girls dancing in the moonlight.
I can hear the bullfrog calling me.
Wonder if my rope's still hanging to the tree.
Love to kick my feet 'way down the shallow water.
Shoefly, dragonfly, get back t'your mother.
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969.

On our recent trip south, the Marathon Pundit family also visited Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park.

The cave pictures are coming.

Besides the cave, there are many miles of hiking trails, and while we were walking on the River Styx Trail, I took this photo of the Green River which meanders throughout Mammoth Cave National Park.

I have no idea if this is the Green River Creedence Clearwater Revival was singing about back in 1969. But it appears like it could be.

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Wal-Mart opened 36 new stores Wednesday

I got an e-mail from friend of the blog Marshall Manson of Edelman yesterday letting me know that 36 new Wal-Mart stores enjoyed their grand opening yesterday.

One of those stores I knew about, Niles second Wal-Mart, pictured here, conveniently located just a few blocks from my office.

According to Wal-Mart, those new stores will create:

8,600 new jobs, employing a total of 13,400. Over 54,000 applications were received for these positions.

And it's this type of company the unions are trying to keep out of the inner-city.

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Gov. Blagojevich fundraiser pleads not guilty

Tony Rezko, Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich's chief fundraiser, pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion and fraud in federal court in Chicago this afternoon.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, faces Republican Judy Baar Topinka in next month's election.

Stick with me folks...

Yes, the blogging has been light today, but I have a couple of posts coming.

Wal-Mart expanding generic drug program

The company the Left loves to hate did something yesterday that helps consumers. They're expanding their $4 generic drug program to fourteen additional states, including Illinois.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bush talks tough on Norks

"That little pot-bellied pig," is what radio talk show host Michael Savage calls North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, might, just might be a bit more nervous after hearing come recent Bush comments:

From AP:

President Bush said Wednesday the United States would stop North Korea from transferring nuclear weapons to Iran or al-Qaida and that the communist regime would then face "a grave consequence."

Bush refused to spell out how the United States would retaliate. "They'd be held to account," the president said in an ABC News interview.

In light of North Korea's Oct. 9 test detonation of a nuclear bomb, Bush warned that any transfer of nuclear material elsewhere in the world by the North would be considered a grave threat to the security of the United States. He previously used "grave threat" in relation to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whose government was toppled in the U.S.-led war in 2003.

"If we get intelligence that they're about to transfer a nuclear weapon, we would stop the transfer, and we would deal with the ships that were taking the — or the airplane that was dealing with taking the material to somebody," the president said. Asked how he would retaliate, Bush would not be specific, "You know, I'd just say it's a grave consequence."

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Obama coy on 2008 presidential run in softball interview

As regular visitors to Marathon Pundit are aware, Barack Obama has been plugging his book, The Audacity of Hope, all over the Chicago area at book signings.

CBS 2 Chicago's Mike Flannery got Obama to sit down for a 20 minute or so interview. The full interview is available on the below link. Barack talks about Africa, his marriage, and of course speculation that he may run for president in 2008.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

Obama would not say whether he was now considering a run for president, but he did say his new book and all the publicity hype surrounding it were not timed to set the stage for a possible run.

But he acknowledged he is taking seriously the pleas he is hearing from so many people on his book tour who are asking him to consider launching a campaign for president.

"It’s a high-class problem to have. Oh, isn't it terrible, people think I should run for President," Obama said with a smile. "At the 2000 (Democratic) convention in L.A., I didn't even have a pass to get to the floor of the convention. Four years later I’m giving the keynote."

My guess? He's running in 2008.

Flannery offered up softball questions to Obama. Illinois' junior senator experienced a minor nick on his reputation this spring when he endorsed novice politician Alexi Giannoulias's campaign for state treasurer against the slated Democratic candidate.

From Northwestern University's Medill News Service:

The Chicago Tribune has reported about millions of dollars in loans that Giannoulias's family bank, Broadway Bank, located in Chicago, made to two convicted felons and an alleged money launderer. The bank allegedly made mortgage loans to a convicted crime figure, according to the Radogno campaign, which added that Giannoulias denied knowing that the man was a convicted criminal and termed him "a very nice person."

Michael Madigan, the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, refuses to endorse Giannoulias, and recently mocked Obama, by calling him the "messiah."
C'mon Mike: Ask some tough questions.

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