Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Glenn & Helen Show podcast on the "body farm"

Snuggled among the charms of eastern Tennessee is the "body farm."

It won't put Dollywood out of business, in fact, it's closed to the public.

The body farm is a project of Dr. Bill Bass, a retired University of Tennessee forensic anthropologist. At the body farm, formally known as the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Facility, cadavers are placed outdoors, sometimes buried, sometimes not, sometimes in a car trunk, for scientific research purposes.

The body farm was the inspiration of a Patricia Cornwell book of the same name.
In eastern Tennessee you'll also find Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds and his wife, forensic psychologist Dr. Helen Smith. In their latest podcast, they interview Bass and Jon Jefferson. The two co-authored their second novel, Flesh and Bone. Like Cornwell's book it's a mystery.

Do you like the CSI TV shows? Well, Bass and Jefferson don't. But even if you do like the series, check out the podcast. You can listen to it or download here.

Or do what I do, and subscribe (for free) at the iTunes site.

The podcast is sponsored by Volvo Cars.

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Franken running for senate in Minnesota

Al Franken grew up in St. Louis Park, a well-to-do suburb of Minneapolis.

Franken will soon be leaving his sometimes-paying-gig as the mid-day host for the struggling Air America radio network. He plans run for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Norm Coleman.

Franken had lived in New York City for over thirty years before moving his Air America show to Minnesota two years ago, something that won't be forgotten by residents of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

When Franken left Minnesota, it was as liberal as Massachusetts, but the state has been trending conservative since 1984. It was the only state Democrat Walter Mondale won that year, and was one of the few Jimmy Carter carried in 1980.

It was considered competitive in the last presidential election; Kerry won, but by only a few percentage points.

Another problem for Franken: Minnesotans are a mild-mannered bunch, and won't be receptive to Franken's caustic humor.

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Biden blog sock puppetry?

Joe Biden is having a pretty bad day, but you wouldn't know it based upon these "comments" on a, his official campaign blog.

Looks like the sock puppets have turned out to support Joe.

Here's one typical comment:

I too have been waiting a long time for Joe Biden to run for president. I am a registered Republican but have an independent philosophy and just want the best person for the job to be elected and I have long believed that Joe Biden is that person. I live in Ohio but am a native of Philadelphia and my mother, like Senator Biden, is also from "up-state" Pennsylvania and so I have been an avid listener and admirer of the Senator since the 70’s. We need a leader with his courage, as he has shown with his personal losses and physical challenges, his integrity, and the ability to communicate clearly and honestly in the face of tough opposition. That is the thing I have most admired about Joe Biden. He is not afraid to stand tall and affirm his position and cut through the crap, so to speak, to get things done. I will help in any way I am able to get Joe Biden elected in 2008.

That post, as well as all of the others, seem as genuine as "baseball star" Sidd Finch.

The writing is too polished, the fawning is over the top. These "comments" sound like press releases.

Give it up, Joe. It's over.

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Coyote sighting during my run

Contrary to this Bloomberg News story from last year, I've never seen a live coyote in the Chicago area. Road kill, yes. For some reason, the Bloomberg reporter had to exaggerate some things for his story.

Amazing! A mainstream media guy making up stuff! Who would've thought!

I've seen live coyotes in Wyoming and South Dakota--the sad canine pictured here is suffering from the mange--as were all the coyotes living inside Wind Cave National Park when I was there.

But I saw a magnificently healthy coyote this afternoon in Harms Rooms in Skokie during a 10 mile run. No pics though.

Still, this is not my top wildlife sighting in the Chicago area during a run. About 10 years ago in Chicago's Lincoln Park, I saw a snowy owl.

Coyotes are known to prey on pets. They eat dead things, too. That will figure into a post that I'll have up later today.

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Biden enters presidential race, places foot in mouth

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del) formally entered the presidential race this morning.

The buffoon is not going win his party's nomination, he won't be the Democrats' choice for vice president.

I've always held that view.

But if I had any doubts about it, now from the New York Observer comes this Biden comment:

Mr. Biden is equally skeptical—albeit in a slightly more backhanded way—about Mr. Obama. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that’s a storybook, man."

Can you imagine the firestorm that would break out if a Republican presidential candidate made such comments?

He says some (surprise!) stupid things about John Edwards and Hillary Clinton too.

As far as Biden's entry into the race, well, there goes the neighborhood.

Related posts:

Biden making it official for 2008 in his longshot bid

I almost forgot about this Biden boo-boo

Biden wants Confederate flag off South Carolina capitol grounds

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for the story.

UPDATE 2:50 PM CST: LaShawn Barber is all over the "Clean Candidate."

UPDATE 3:00 PM CST: With a hat tip to Rich Miller's Capitol Fax, here is Biden's clarification of his comments on Hotline. "I'm an idiot" was not among the reasons, although it should've been.

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Flash video: The Islamic Mein Kampf

FrontPage Magazine has an excellent, but disturbing, Flash video entitled The Islamic Mein Kampf.

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Nine men arrested in Britain on terror charges

A bunch of thugs were arrested in Birmingham, England for an alleged plot in which they would kidnap a Muslim British soldier and then behead him. The beheading would be shown on the Internet.

No comment yet from the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK version of CAIR.

According to Sky News, via Fox, they had a paticular soldier in mind.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cut and run: Obama wants all combat troops out of Iraq in spring '08

Sen. Barack Obama upped the ante in his anti-war push by introducing a bill to have all US combat troops removed from Iraq by spring of next year.

President Bush would of course veto such a bill.

Presumably, combat troops from the various terrorist groups will remain in Iraq.

Obama isn't calling for a funds cut off--at least at this time.

His bill is called The Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007.

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Two Pakistanis stoned to death in "honor killing"

Earlier this week a pack of barbarians in Pakistan stoned to death two lovers. To make it easier for the thugs--relatives of the female half of the couple--to do the job, the pair were tied to a tree.

"Honor killings" are a big problem in Pakistan. Australia reports that there were 4000 such murders in recent years. Last year, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf put a law in place that made these killings a capital offense.

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Obama reserves Springfield's Old State Capitol building for presidential announcement

The Obama camp hasn't officially announced anything, but according to AP, Barack's campaign staff has reserved the Old State Capitol Building on February 10 in Springfield, Illinois to announce his entry into the presidential race.

What time that day? No one is saying. Inside or outside? Dunno.

I was in the building a month is tiny, so I can't imagine the festivities taking place inside there. I mean, look at the bus and the building!

He'll announce outside is my guess. However, T.S. Eliot may have written April is the cruelest month, but the English poet never traveled to Central Illinois in February and had to suffer through one of its famous ice storms.

The Old State Capitol is where Abraham Lincoln made his famous "House Divided" speech. It's within walking distance of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Lincoln's old law office.

Oh, the 198th anniversary of Lincoln's birth will be two days after the Obama announcement.

Related post:

Thirty hours in Lincoln's Springfield, Illinois

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Still sick...

I'm not sure if my blogging shows it, but I've been sick for a week now. I don't have a fever anymore, but I'm still suffering from congested lungs.

No work for me tomorrow, hopefully that'll be the ticket.

Bush in Illinois follow-up

President Bush came and went from East Peoria, Illinois earlier today. No word if any moonbats showed up. Bush spoke to 300 Caterpillar employees on a factory floor, so access to the president was limited.

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Bush to visit Caterpillar plant in Illinois today

This could be interesting. President Bush will visit a Caterpillar plant later today in the Peoria area.

Caterpillar found itself in the center of the nasty politics of the Middle East when a Caterpillar product owned by the Israeli Defense Force, the D-9 bulldozer, accidentally ran over leftist activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003.

Corrie refused to get out of the way of the oncoming bulldozer, although her leftist supporters claim, without evidence to back up their belief, that the Israelis purposely killed her.

So in Central Illinois there will be a perfect storm of craziness. Bush-haters and Israel-haters will converge near Peoria today.

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Obama blasts Bush on Katrina aid, silent on area's corruption heritage

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama ripped President Bush yesterday over the federal government's slow response in the rebuilding of the gulf coast areas damaged by Katrina, saying "There is not a sense of urgency out of this White House and this administration."


But what is really slowing federal aid to Louisiana and Mississippi is the Stafford Act, a bill, that among other things, puts up fraud safeguards in federal reconstruction projects.

From a Wall Street Journal article reprinted in the Biloxi Sun-Herald:

According to the White House, the federal government has provided $110 billion for the Gulf Coast region. But nowhere near that amount of actual cash has been made available. The total is spread over five states and covers damage done by three separate storms. Some of it consists of loans. A chunk comes from government insurance payouts that ultimately derived from premiums paid by homeowners themselves.


Under the Stafford Act, rebuilding funds must be accompanied by a 10 percent match from local governments, on the theory that localities won't misspend if their money is also on the line. Similarly, FEMA will cover only 75 percent of a project's cost until the job is complete.

The Stafford Act rules were loosened after 9/11 and Hurricane Andrew, but not for Katrina. Why is that?

More from the same article:

The region's reputation for corruption is one reason why. Influence peddling on the coast has a long history, from 1930s Louisiana Gov. Huey Long to Edwin Edwards, a three-term governor currently serving a 10-year prison sentence. Recently, Mississippi was named the most corrupt state in the nation by Corporate Crime Reporter, a Washington, D.C., publication.

(My note: What about Illinois?)

"The question is not whether Congress should provide for those in need, but whether state and local officials who have been derelict in their duty should be trusted with that money," Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, wrote in a 2005 letter to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert. "Their record during Hurricane Katrina and the long history of public corruption in Louisiana convinces me that that they should not."

The same article compares two bridges destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. One, owned by a railroad, was rebuilt in six months. The other, property of the federal government, is nothing more than concrete pilings.

Certainly the current rebuilding plan isn't working. But Senator Obama can't turn a blind eye to the area's history of corruption when suggesting a change of course.

Corruption isn't something Obama talked about yesterday.

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Part three of the Wichita Eagle series..

....about the woman who left for Jordan with her husband but had to leave her children behind when she went home to Wichita is here.

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Defeat of Chicago's big-box "living wage" ordinance means more jobs

Last summer, Chicago Ald. Joe Moore got a "living wage" ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council that would've applied to only the biggest retailers in the city, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe's, and Home Depot.

Not long after, Lowe's and Target announced cancelling new store projects in Chicago.

But there is common sense in Chicago--Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed the bill.

Yesterday one of those "big boxes," Home Depot, announced a nationwide hiring spree that will include giving 2,000 Chicagoans new jobs.

Of course some people don't get it. One of the major supporters of Moore's bill was the Service Employees International Union. Had Moore, SEIU, and other short-sighted ones gotten their way, those Home Depot jobs wouldn't be coming to Chicago.

This winter SEIU members are knocking on the doors of Chicagoans, trying to convince them to toss out incumbent Chicago alderman in next month's elections who voted against the "living wage" ordinance.

But what exactly is SEIU's job creation program?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Tailgating banned at Super Bowl, but not at Soldier Field

Last week the NFL put the word out about tailgating for Super Bowl XLI outside Dolphin Stadium in Miami--it's not allowed. Security concerns are the official reason, but I have my doubts.

Will traffic be banned on busy Interstate 95 during the game? Dolphin Stadium is adjacent to the artery road of the eastern seaboard.

My guess is the NFL and the Miami Dolphins want to sell a lot of $5 beers.

However in Chicago, tailgating will be allowed outside Soldier Field, home stadium for the Chicago Bears, beginning at 1:00PM Sunday, and they can stay until the game is over. All for just $15. But you can barbecue, bring your own beers, and TVs--but you're on your own finding electrical power.

No word if those Hoosiers in Indianapolis will be doing something similar. But the Colts play indoors, so the atmosphere there won't be the same.

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Author: World to end in 2012 except for Berea, Kentucky

Last fall I travelled to Central Kentucky and I found it to be a wonderful place.

Maybe it's not the locale I'd select as the most likely survivor if the rest of the world ends, but an author thinks so.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Lawrence Joseph, author of Apocalypse 2012: A Scientific Investigation Into Civilization's End, says that Jerusalem, Angkor Wat, the Vatican and Mecca might be natural choices but, no, "of all the sacred sites in the world, none embodies the sacred Mayan values of service to humanity and Mother Earth like the town of Berea, Kentucky."

Joseph goes on for a page about the origin of the town's name (Acts 17:10-14), about the fabulousness of Berea College and its Ecovillage and about the whole region's remarkable seismic and volcanic stability.

Then he urges us all to pray and prepare and not panic.

The reaction to all this in Berea has been, well, not panic. And not exactly glee either.

A member of the local chamber of commerce says kooks are welcome, since they have their "share of those already."

Related posts: Mammoth Cave National Park's Green River

Historical graffiti in Mammoth Cave

Abraham Lincoln birthplace site

"My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place"

Cumberland Gap: Where the West was first won

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David Horowitz comes to DePaul

Last week, author David Horowitz came to Chicago's (and America's) largest Catholic college, DePaul University.

David Horowitz grew up in a Communist household, but is now a leading conservative thinker.

Horowitz, joined by Jonathan Cohen, a DePaul math professor, and Thomas Klocek, a former DePaul professor who was fired after having an out-of-classroom discussion on Middle Eastern politics on September 15, 2004 with some Muslim students took part in a forum about free speech issues on college campuses.

Cortelyou Commons on DePaul's Lincoln Park campus was filled to capacity to hear the three men speak.

The mainstream media showed their interest in the event. AP was there. So was Fox 32 Chicago.

I wasn't the only blogger there--Freedom Folks dropped in, as did Grant Crowell.

Cohen spoke first. He explained how he got involved in the Klocek case, which was shortly after this hit-piece appeared in the DePaulia. Cohen, although he didn't phrase it as such, was Klocek's only DePaul ally in the autumn of 2004.

Klocek, who had a white gag covering his mouth during Cohen's portion of the talk, spoke next, and he gave a history of the Catholic Church--going back to the Middle Ages--and the development of the modern university.

"The Church was the sole repository of learning" prior to the Renaissance in Christendom, Klocek said.

But things went awry, Klocek added, in its "rush to PC secularism" many Catholic universities have forgotten their mission.

Klocek then declared, "DePaul is very close to being Catholic in Name Only."

Horowitz then took his turn.

"Go Bears" is how he opened. I'm not sure if Horowitz said that to loosen up the crowd, or to calm down his opponents in the audience, but it was a good start.

First of all, David Horowitz is a terrific speaker--he doesn't come across as well on a 19 inch TV screen. In person he's animated, enthusiastic, and funny.

Horowitz mentioned that posters advertising his free speech forum had been torn down throughout the campus.

I guess some people don't get the point.

Here are some great Horowitz quotes from that night:

The most segregated institutions in life are liberal universities.

Just because you're an English professor, that doesn't make you an expert on the Iraq war.

In explaining the continent's diminished role in world politics:
Europe is a cultural theme park.

On his goal to achieve balance of opinions at American univerisities:
It's not about removing leftists from academia, it's about teaching them manners.

On DePaul:
(The school) is not committed to Catholicism, it's committed to money.


(DePaul is committing) massive consumer fraud to sucker kids to think they're getting a Catholic education.

Horowitz suggested that a lawsuit from Catholic students against DePaul should be pursued.

Other topics that we're discussed by Horowitz included the Duke lacrosse team rape case--the accused were "convicted" by not only the media, but members Duke's faculty.

A long question and answer session followed, a few Horowitz opponents (all of whom were quite respectful and polite) had their say.

Horowitz probably didn't change any minds that night, but as Neo-Neocon likes to say, "Change is a slow process." Check back in a few years, I guess.

Some people did not show up. Horowitz said that DePaul's faculty boycotted the event, although at least two professors, besides Cohen, showed up and asked questions and expressed their opposition to some of Horowitz' claims.

Students for Justice in Palestine (which Horowitz called a "Jew hating organization") and United Muslims Moving Ahead were absent too.

These are the organizations that led the charge for the dismissal of 15-year adjunct professor from DePaul.

But they talked to The DePaulia about the event:

"I believe that students are supposed to look up to their professors, be motivated by their professors to do good and above all, be certain that their professors are good people who care to educate other individuals and spread knowledge and encourage friendly debate. Spreading a message that perpetuates hatred and racism, including insulting students who have a different point of view, should never be endured nor accepted at any university, especially at DePaul," vice president of SJP and a senior international studies student, Christina Gamin said.

President of UMMA and a junior elementary education student, Ahlam Hassan, said there is a fine line between free speech and direct defamation.

"I am confident that if they truly knew what Islam preached, then they would not make false accusations or comments such as those. Islam preaches peace, mercy and understanding," Hassan said. "By no means does it support terrorist acts. Acts of terror by radical extremists affect the average American Muslim as much as, if not more, than any other American because it is our perfect religion that is being tarnished, and it is us that have to defend it."

Both student groups involved in the altercation believe the university dealt with Klocek in an appropriate manner.

Hey, UMMA and SJP: There was no defamation. Among other things, what Klocek said that day was that there was a qualitative difference between a suicide bomber and the Israeli Defense Forces taking necessary actions to prevent terrorist attacks. You just didn't like what he said.

It's likely that the men and women of UMMA and SJP who had that 2004 conversation with Klocek--and led to his livelihood being taken away--have graduated and moved on.

As for the current members of those groups, simply put, they are cowards for not showing up to what was truly a free speech forum.

The DePaul Conservative Alliance organized the event. Nick Hahn of the group did a terrific job as moderator. Keep an eye on this guy, he's going places.

Oh, sorry for the lack of photographs. Cortelyou Commons is a beautiful room, but its dark wood panels make successful picture taking a challenge.

Thanks for the links:


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Hillary and the Super Bowl

Just a quick question: Who is Hillary supporting in the Super Bowl? She grew as a Chicago Cubs fan in Park Ridge, Illinois, although once she moved to Westchester County, New York she said "I've always been a Yankees Fan."

It's likely Hillary grew up as a Chicago Bears fan; the Monsters of the Midway won an NFL title in 1963 while the future senator was a suburban Chicago teenager.

Or has she always been a Jets fan? Or Giants? Or Buffalo Bills?

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Part two of the Wichita Eagle series, "From Kansas to Jordan back to Kansas"

The title is mine. The Wichita Eagle started a tree part series yesterday about a Kansas woman who married a Muslim man, wouldn't let her keep her kids. Here's part two.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chicago Bears video: One city, one team, one goal

Great YouTube video with early-season Chicago Bears clips. Nicely graced by an Al Pacino voiceover from the otherwise flawed Oliver Stone film, Any Given Sunday.

Chicago Bears--Indianapolis Colts, Super Bowl XLI, next Sunday.

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A sad story: From Kansas to Jordan back to Kansas

The Wichita Eagle today has the first entry in a three part series about Sharon Huggins--she tells a sad but familiar story. An American woman marries a Muslim man, they move to his country, he becomes an anti-American Islamic radical, she comes back to America--without her children.

The twist with this story is that Huggins lived in Jordan, which is supposed to be among the moderate nations in the Middle East.

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The Times of London looks at Obama's early years

The esteemed London newspaper takes a close look at Barack Obama's early years and family life, which you'll find here.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Novak: Obama won't be Rahmed down Emanuel's throat

Five years ago when Rahm Emanuel was in a heated primary race for the open seat in Illinois' fifth district, the then-little known Emanuel was often referred to by voters as "that Clinton guy."

Emanuel was a very early-supporter of Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign, and was a Clinton White House staffer for five years.

Flash forward to 2007: To a person, Illinois' Democratic elected officials who've declared their 2008 support have hopped on the Barack Obama for President bandwagon. So has the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Rep. Emanuel is acknowledging feeling pressure to support either the Clinton or Obama campaigns.

But columnist Robert Novak claims that Emanuel will stick with his first political love, the Clintons.

From Novak's column on Saturday:

Sources close to Sen. Barack Obama are sure that Rep. Rahm Emanuel will not support his fellow Illinois Democrat for the presidential nomination but will back Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Pajamas Media Blog Week Number XXX

That means Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review number 30, not an X rated edition. The thirtieth podcast (the numbering is an homage to next week's Super Bowl, which regular visitors to this blog know that the Chicago Bears will face the Indianapolis Colts in Miami) focuses on a couple of stories.

The first is Web 2.0 which is an enhanced version of regular web, only with podcasts, wiki-type sites, social-networking, all piled togther like a Big Mac stuffed with a Whopper topped by a Dairy Queen dessert.

It sounds great. But will it fly?

Moderator Austin Bay cited a recent Micro Persuasion post entitled Rising Dead Pool Indicates Web 2.0 Bubble is Popping. That post drew inspiration from a January 19 CNN article Bubble or bonanza for Web's new age?

This week's panelists are Glenn Reynolds and Eric Umansky, who discuss whether Yahoo! and Google will pick up the pieces of Web 2.0.

President Bush's recent State of the Union address is the next topic, followed by the stories to watch in the coming week to ten days.

Ed Driscoll
produces. The podcast is sponsored by Volvo Cars US.

Listen to or download the podcast here. Free subcriptions to Pajamas Media Blog Week in Review are available from the iTunes web site.

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Former Obama opponent, Clinton pal, now backing Barack

Barack Obama's only defeat in a political race was against Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000. In Audacity of Hope, Obama writes:

It was a race in which everything that could go wrong did go wrong, in which my own mistakes were compounded by tragedy and farce.

Bobby Rush was an early supporter of Bill Clinton's 1992 run for president, and in turn Clinton endorsed Rush in his race against Obama, and Bill recorded a radio spot for Rush that year, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In 2004, Rush backed the campaign of the early front-runner, Blair Hull, in the Democratic primary for the US Senate seat Obama eventually won. Hull's campaign collapsed after some embarrassing revelations in his divorce file became public.

But Rush is in the Obama camp, despite his history with the Clintons, telling the Chicago Sun-Times:

It's one of the most difficult decisions that I've had to make in politics. Bill Clinton and the Clinton family are very close.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Gov. Huckabee latest Republican to explore running for president

Is America ready for another ethics-challenged governor from Arkansas?

Mike Huckabee, who just completed 10 1/2 years as governor of that state what's-his-name came from thinks so. The difference with Huckabee is that he's a Republican.

Related posts:

Soon-to-be-former Gov. Huckabee and wife on "wedding" gift registries

Welcome to the big leagues, Gov. Huckabee

More Huckabee ethical problems

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SEIU screening Dem candidates for president

One of the nation's largest labor unions is the Service Employees International Union. SEIU represents many government workers, so it suffered from the contractions in membership that other labor unions are suffering through.

So it's a big player in Democratic politics, as the Dems are viewed as more friendly to labor.

Today and tomorrow, eight presidential candidates, two via feed, will be presenting explaining their stances to the sixty members of the SEIU executive council, but no SEIU endorsement is expected to come out of these meetings.

Here's the part I like:

From AP:

The meetings Friday and Saturday are closed to the public and the media.

Gee, I'm sure the two million members dues-paying members of the SEIU are impressed.

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Mayor Daley apologizes for Bears fans boorish behavior

As I blogged a couple of days ago, during Sunday's NFC championship, some Chicago Bears fans went way over the edge by taunting New Orleans Saints fans about Hurrinane Katrina.

Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley released a statement about the incidents:

This kind of unfortunate behavior by no means reflects Chicago. It's deplorable, and it should never have happened.

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A Soros spot for the Obama campaign

Almost lost amidst the madrassa, or I should say, the debunked madrassa story, is some news on the fundraising front on the Democratic side of the 2008 presidential election.

Running for president is increasingly expensive. For a serious campaign, it's accepted as fact that $100 million will need to be raised--and that's per candidate. That comes out to $274,000 per day.

If you're a Democrat, one reliable source of funds is Hollywood. It's worked for both Clintons.

But as AP reports, Sen. Barack Obama is now tapping into that wellspring of cash, including individuals such as Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen of the Dreamworks movie studio. All three men are past supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

The Dremworks trio is hosting a $2,300-a-head fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel next month. But that event is for the cheapskates. After the Hilton event, those who've pledged to raise $46,000 for Obama get invited to a private dinner at David Geffen's home.

(For those trivia buffs out there, you'll want to know that $46,000 is more than the estimated net-worth of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who is also running for president.)

Hollywood hasn't completely given up on Hillary, Elizabeth Taylor yesterday announced her support for Hillary.

That brings us to a New York Times story on George Soros:

George Soros, the billionaire New York philanthropist, has made maximum donations in the past to both candidates, for instance, and last week he faced a choice: support Mr. Obama, who created his committee on Tuesday, or stay neutral and see what Mrs. Clinton and others had to say. In this case, Mr. Obama won.

Mr. Soros sent the maximum contribution, $2,100, to Mr. Obama, the first-term senator from Illinois, just hours after he declared his plans to run.

"Soros believes that Senator Obama brings a new energy to the political system and has the potential to be a transformational leader," said Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Mr. Soros.

But with Soros, a billionaire currency speculator, his $2,100 check to Obama is probably just the beginning of his involvement in Election 200--and perhaps the Obama campaign.

In the last presidential campaign, Soros in his quest to see George W. Bush defeated, donated heavily to left-wing political groups. He gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $5 million to MoveOn, and $10 million to American Coming Together.

Soros brings a lot of money to the Democrats, but he also brings a lot of baggage.

In 2002, the billionaire was found guilty of insider trading in France.

In 2003, Soros blamed the policies of Israel and the United States for the rise in anti-semitism.

Soros holds many controversial views.

From Peter Schweizer's 2005 book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy:

This reformed capitalist wants to fight capitalism, reverse globalism, and soak the rich with steep income and inheritance taxes. He also wants to legalize drugs, promotes unfettered immigration, and advocates euthanasia and assisted suicide. Among his other causes are abortion rights, atheism, sex education, gun control, and gay marriage.

Soros' Quantum Fund deserves a close look, although it's difficult to do just that. Although Quantum's offices are in New York, it's incorporated in the Netherland Antilles, which allows Quantum to avoid US taxes and SEC oversight.

More from Schweizer's book:

His ultrasecret, unregulated fund avoids not only the SEC but also public scrutiny. No one knows who his investors are, though many believe they include some of the wealthiest people in the world, including Saudi princess, royal families in Europe, and the superwealthy in Latin America. Even employees at Soros Fund Management in New York do not know the names of many of the people they are making money for. They are simply given coded Swiss bank accounts.

Yes, there are other offshore currency funds. But if Soros didn't invent the practice, he certainly perfected it.

Unfortunately, Soros' shady reputation gets little play in the mainstream media--they support many of causes the billionaire backs.

There's something in Obama that Soros likes. It could simply be that he believes the Illinois senator has the best chance to win in 2008.

But don't look for Soros' cash to be an issue in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, since the other Democratic candidates still hope to bathe themselves in the billionaire's bundle.

However, if Obama is the Demoratic nominee next year, it's a safe bet that his Republican counterpart will make the name of George Soros a familar one among voters.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wal-Mart to pay $34 million in overtime case

I'm sure the opponents of Wal-Mart will trumpet this news as more evidence of the evil of the retail behemoth.

Some workers were underpaid by Wal-Mart, others were overpaid. Wal-Mart says, as you'll read in this press release, that it was they who discovered the errors and reported the problem to the US Dept. of Labor.

The underpaid get their overdue money back--with interest. Those who got too much can keep the cash.

Related Wal-Mart posts:

Obama and Wal-Mart

John Edwards wakes up to Wal-Mart nightmare

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Union membership continues to slide

Next month in Chicago the first round of aldermanic elections take place in the city's 50 wards.

In about a dozen of those wards, canvassers from the Service Employees International Union are knocking on doors, trying to convince voters to toss out aldermen who voted the "wrong way" on the big-box retail "living wage" ordinance.

We'll know soon what clout the SEIU, as well as the labor movement in general, has in Chicago.

However, SEIU and other labor unions can't be too happy with this new Bureau of Labor Statistics report on labor union membership.

According to the BLS, just 12 percent of the workforce, the lowest percentage recorded since such statistics have been recorded.

In the public sector, the percentage of union member is much higher according to the same report, 36.2 percent.

That figure at least partially explains the general inefficiency of the government work force.

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Sick today....

But I'll get to some new posts soon.

Klocek and Horowitz at DePaul follow up

I'm going to do a longer post in a few days, but I spent and enjoyable evening last night at the free speech forum with former DePaul Professor Thomas Klocek, author David Horowitz, and current DePaul Professor Jonathan Cohen.

Cohen spoke about his involvement in the Klocek case, Klocek discussed the role of the Catholic Church and universities throughout history, Horowitz, batting last, talked about what's wrong with the modern university--in short, its married to Leftist dogma.

There was a lot of media at the event, including AP, whose rundown of the evening events can be found here.

The event was organized by the DePaul Conservative Alliance, and the forum was monitored by DCA member Nick Hahn, who said:

At DePaul, like any university, there's kind of almost an intolerance ... when discussing controversial or conservative issues. Fringe groups dominate extracurricular activities, and you cannot discuss any issue that is controversial without being labeled as offensive or racist.

In the question-and-answer session, Ann Russo, chairman of the Women’s Studies and Gender Studies program at DePaul, confronted Horowitz on his charges that without exception, women's studies programs nationwide are dominated by hard-Leftists.

Horowitz didn't back down, citing items he viewed on DePaul's Women's Studies' web site.

I spoke briefly with Horowitz after the forum ended, and he was not surprised to learn that Professor Russo is a signatory of what blogger Pirate Ballerina calls the "Unfire Ward Churchill" petition.

Horowitz during his presentation defended the free speech rights of the University of Colorado professor to spread his odious message. But he made no excuses for Churchill's plagiarism and academic fraud.

UPDATE 10:35 AM: Fox 32 Chicago has a great video clip.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rude Chicago Bears fans insult Katrina victims

Yes, I'm a big Chicago Bears fan, but I don't want to be in any way associated with these two idiots who paraded around outside Chicago's Soldier Field with that sign. Yes, it says, "Bears Finishing What Katrina Started."

In addition to that atrocity, there were numerous complaints of Bears fans taunting Saints fans. Worse, snowballs, possibly drenched with urine, were tossed at supporters of the New Orleans team.

No class.

Photo courtesy of the Biloxi Sun-Herald.

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Tonight in Chicago: Klocek and Horowitz speak at DePaul

I'm leaving soon for DePaul University's Lincoln Park campus for tonight's forum with author David Horowitz and free speech champion Thomas Klocek.

From a TC Public Relations press release:

Tonight, for the first time since his suspension, Thomas Klocek will return to the school that silenced him. He will speak on the role of free speech at Catholic universities. Klocek will be joined by researcher, author and conservative activist David Horowitz. The event will take place tonight at 7:00 PM at DePaul’s Cortelyou Commons at 2324 North Fremont Street in Chicago.

Announcements calling for those who oppose Klocek and Horowitz to show up to tonight’s event have appeared online, including this morsel:

New World Resource Center, a far-left book store announces the event on their calendar and invites readers to, "Greet the noted rightwing lunatic (Horowitz)."

Members of the DePaul Conservative Alliance and event organizer Nicholas Hahn tells us of several reports of Islamic and far-left groups planning to attend en masse. It is unknown how they will respond to the forum.

(That's why I'm taking the "el" to DePaul, instead of driving. I don't want some nut to slash the tires on my car.

Please feel free to contact Ian of TC Public Relations at or 312-422-1333.

Horowitz is an author of many books, including the soon-to-be-released Indoctrination.

Related posts: Sept 15: Second anniversary of the beginning of the Thomas Klocek affair

The Thomas Klocek legal defense fund

UPDATE 4:40PM: Freedom Folks will be there too.

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Sanity Squad podcast on the second Holocaust

Somewhere in Iran, scientists are taking apart the building block of God's creation, the atom. And their goal is to unleash the fires of Hell upon those whom they oppose.

And a lot of people, as the Sanity Squad points out, such as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), are crossing their fingers and hoping nothing bad happens.

It's Munich in 1938 again.

On Sunday, a Jerusalem Post essay by Benny Morris, Second Holocaust, was published.

He writes:

The second Holocaust will be quite different.

One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran’s acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.

The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel’s half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel’s anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command units.

The Sanity Squad, Shrinkwrapped, Dr. Sanity, Neo-neocon, and Siggy, talk about the Morris article and the continuing denial by the Left about the threat to everyone, not just Jews, poised by the evil regime in Tehran.

And it's not just Benny Morris who thinks Israel is facing a second Holocaust. Newt Gingrich believes it too.

Listen to or download the podcast here. Free subscriptions are available from the iTunes web site.

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Sadness: Kerry won't run for president in 2008

To the profound disappointment of all conservative pundits, John Kerry, the "Frenchurian Candidate," will not be running for president in 2008.

The news isn't all bad. Sen. Kerry, whose current term expires in 2009, plans to run for re-election.

So we'll still have John Kerry, absent a serious Republican challenge in Massachusetts, to kick around for a while.

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Sen. Jim Webb gets tangled up in own words

Hat tip to Reverse Spin. Newly elected Senator Jim Webb of Virginia was chosen by the Democrats to give the party's official response to last night's state of the union address.

"Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos," said Webb. "But an immediate shift toward strong regionally based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq’s cities and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq."

So which one is it, Jim? "Precipitous withdrawal?" Or leaving Iraq "in short order."

And you'd think I guy who has written a few books would be able to choose his words better.

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Obama and Guiliani lead Pajamas Media straw poll

So far 10,000 voters have chimed in, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Sen. Barack Obama lead their respective parties in the Pajamas Media straw poll.

Vote here.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union mini-review

Well, this year's State of the Union address was pretty similar to last year's--2007's version had the novelty of course of Bush addressing a Democratic majority Congress and a woman--for the first time---sitting behind the president.

My favorite part? I saw it twice. Senators Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy sitting next to each other--with Senator Hillary Clinton directly behind Obama.

I was driving home from work listening to CBS Radio's coverage before Bush spoke; they made a point of mentioning that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was one of the early arrivals who snatched a coveted aisle seat. Sure enough, after the president finished, there he was chatting with Jesse Jr.

Junior learned a lot from his old man.

Update Jan. 24: Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative adds some of her own analysis here.

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Tired of Election 2008? Sen. Bunning declares for re-election for 2010

Not entirely without reason, quite a few people are wondering why next year's presidential started two months ago.

Now, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) has announced his intention to run for re-election--in 2010.

He is 75 years old.

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Wednesday at DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus: Klocek and Horowitz

If you are looking for me tomorrow evening, I'll be on the north side of Chicago. For Thomas Klocek's return to DePaul University.

I'll be in the audience of a free speech on campus forum, one that is sponsored by the DePaul Conservative Alliance, will also include researcher, author and conservative scholar David Horowitz as well as DePaul mathematics professor and Klocek supporter Jonathan Cohen. The event will take place in DePaul’s Cortelyou Commons at 2324 North Fremont Street in Chicago on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Horowitz is the author of many books, including his most recent, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

For more information on the Klocek case, to speak to Klocek's attorney John Mauck, or to contact conference organizer Nick Hahn, please e-mail Ian North at

If you cannot attend but still want to show your support of Klocek--join the 1,871 signers of the Reinstate Thomas Klocek at DePaul petition. Only 129 more signatures are needed to reach the petition goal of 2000.

Related posts: Sept 15: Second anniversary of the beginning of the Thomas Klocek affair

The Thomas Klocek legal defense fund

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Indiana's civil war

The Indianapolis Colts may play their home games in Indiana, but Northwest Indiana, a populous corner of the state that is part of the Chicago sprawl, is Chicago Bears country.

According to CBS 2 Chicago, Indiana's Mason-Dixon line can be found at the Interstate 65 town of Rensselaer. Ironic, because until the early 1970s, the Bears summer training camp was held there.

Of course the two teams meet in the Super Bowl on February 4 in Miami.

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Atlas Shrugs exclusive: Bogus Islamic charity exposed

I promise not to use to use the word "madrassa" in this post.

Pamela and Julie at the Pajamas blog Atlas Shrugs, in an exclusive story, have uncovered a bogus Islamic charity.

An excerpt from that blog:

NISA [North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused] is a non-profit organization [charity] of the parent Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), established as a [fundraising] vehicle towards alleviating issues related to abuse and domestic violence. Our mission is to help men and women achieve domestic harmony and a happy family life in the SF Bay Area

But NISA, the North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused, doesn't exist. After exhaustive investigative efforts, we find NISA is a shell. A cellphone. An 888 number that is not answered but several cell phones. There is no Islamic shelter for abused women (wife beating, btw, is in the Koran) has no shelter and offers no services other than referral to government shelters.

So what exactly are they raising money for? In an ATLAS EXCLUSIVE, covert Atlas operative Julie blew the lid right off what appears to be a bogus Islamic charity.

Although NISA has does have a website.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Coming soon: Another dose of "Hillary Care"

Maybe Hillary Clinton doesn't want to win the presidency. "Hillary Care" brings back some bad memories for a lot of people, and a reasonable person could argue that it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who ushered in twelve years of Republican rule in the House of Representatives by way of her proposed health care reform in 1994.

This story comes from The Hill, not Fox News, or Insight.

Former President Clinton has signaled privately that his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), will include aggressive healthcare proposals in her campaign for the White House, despite the debacle of what critics labeled "Hillary Care" 14 years ago.

In remarks to Democratic operatives last month, the ex-president caused a buzz by strongly defending the substance of his wife’s 1990s plan, claiming it was a moderate, private-sector approach grossly mischaracterized by its critics.

The former president’s statements, delivered during a Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) conference at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., have been interpreted as signaling that candidate Clinton could revive aspects of her 1993-94 approach that was vilified by Republicans and health-industry groups.

Check this part out:
"She’s going to reject advice to avoid the issue," (a) consultant said. "Only people in Washington think that people who have tried and not succeeded shouldn't try again."

It's going to be fun covering this campaign.

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Daley endorses Obama, Obama endorses Daley

Just before Christmas, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley endorsed Barack Obama's then-unannounced run for the presidency. Daley typically doesn't endorse presidential candidates early in the process, although he made an exception for Al Gore, whose campaign chairman was William Daley, Richie's brother and former commerce secretary under Bill Clinton.

Bill Daley is on board for Team Obama, although his role there has yet to be defined.

Mayor Daley is up for re-election next month, and today Obama endorsed the longtime Chicago chief executive.

But not without some explanation from Senator Obama.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

In August 2005, Obama nearly ran into trouble with Daley when he hedged on whether he'd support the mayor for re-election in light of the corruption investigations at City Hall.

Asked then if he planned to support the mayor or if the corruption probes might have given him pause, the senator replied, "What's happened — some of the reports I've seen in your newspaper, I think, give me huge pause."

An hour later Obama backed off those comments a bit, and Daley said we wasn't peeved at him.

More from the today's Sun-Times article:

This morning, Obama was asked how he reconciles his statement in 2005 about the Hired Truck Program, city hiring and minority-contracting scandals with today's endorsement.

"It's entirely consistent," Obama said. "I continue to be concerned. And one of the things I've been pleased to see is the steps the mayor's been taking to try to clean up some of the genuine problems that exist. We've seen changes in hiring rules, procurement rules. You've got a significantly beefed-up inspector general [who] has the power to enforce some of these laws on the books. As a consequence, you're gonna see the kind of leaner, cleaner government that Chicagoans expect and, I know, the mayor expects.

But if there are more federal indictments at City Hall, Obama's statement today may be used against him by his opponents.

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