Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leftist anti-Semite wants to become mayor of London to advance Palestinian cause

The closest thing to a convincing argument for Scottish independence is the radical anti-Semite George Galloway, a native of Dundee, who is running for mayor of London.

From the Evening Standard:
George Galloway has said he will use his position to rally support for the Palestinian cause if he succeeds in his campaign to become mayor.

The Respect Party leader said he would not call for the city to be an "Israel-free zone" as he did in Bradford when he was an MP there.

But he said that he would use the mayoralty to promote his "moral position" on the conflict in the Middle East.

2016: Walker maintains Iowa lead

Wisconsin from Pike's
Peak, Iowa
Iowa Republicans like the governor to the northeast of their state.

From the Des Moines Register:
Scott Walker's popularity streak in Iowa is real: He's seven percentage points ahead of his nearest competition in the presidential horse race here, chased by a tight pack of four in a clear top tier: Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee.

Marco Rubio lags in a single-digit scrum, but a deeper look into the numbers shows that if Walker is the hare in Iowa, Rubio may be the tortoise, potentially positioned to pull ahead if he campaigns hard, a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll finds.

From Da Tech Guy: Illinois’ now cancelled Hastert statue plans reveal spending addiction

"Broke" Illinois somehow found $500,000 to build a bronze statue of the now-indicted former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, or at least the speaker of the Illinois House, Chicago Democrat Michael Madigan did. Read my take on Da Tech Guy here: Illinois' now cancelled Hastert statue plans reveal spending addiction.

O'Malley's presidential announcement marred by protesters

Former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor Martin O'Malley announced that he's running for president yesterday. His campaign debut was marred with a video failure and a ruckus.

From National Review Online:
But the announcement was marred by a steady stream of protesters nearby. They shouted about police brutality and economic injustice. "700,000 arrests under your watch, O'Malley!" one man shouted. Others blew whistles during his speech. "Oh, grow up," one O'Malley supporter muttered angrily.

O'Malley, the third Democratic candidate to enter the race, is considered by some a potential challenger to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, but he has an uphill climb to the nomination. While Clinton sits at 64 percent in the polls, O'Malley hovers at less than one percent. His tenure as governor ended with the shocking defeat of his lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown, defeated by longshot Republican candidate Larry Hogan. And Baltimore's riots and soaring crime rate cast new doubt on his tenure as that city's mayor, which ended in 2006.

The protesters at Saturday's campaign announcement drew a direct line between O'Malley's policies and what they say as an oppressive police presence in Baltimore today. "He was brutally murdered!” said Tawanda Jones. Her brother, Tyrone Jones, was killed by Baltimore police during a 2013 traffic stop. She pointed at O'Malley, who was still at the podium. "I blame him!" she said.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Senior NATO official: Baltic States could be "occupied in a couple of days" by Russia

Riga, Latvia
As I've remarked in this space before, many misguided people in Mrs. Marathon Pundit's native country of Latvia view President Obama as a hero because he sent a few troops to the Baltic States.

This story should wake them up.

From the Scotsman:
A senior NATO general has warned Russia could occupy the Baltic states in two days and the west would be unable to do anything to stop it from happening.

Czech General Petr Pavel, soon to become head of NATO's military committee, one of the alliance's most important bodies, added that steps taken to face the threat posed by Russia so far had been "embarrassingly ineffective".

His warning comes amid a growing climate of insecurity in the Baltic region and central Europe. The three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, have all reported increases in Russian military activity near their borders, skies and waters. They now plan to make a formal request for Nato to station thousands of troops in the region on a permanent basis as a statement of the alliance;s commitment to their territorial defence.
"From a technical point of view, if I consider how many forces Russia is able to deploy in the Baltics when compared to the size of the Baltic countries and the density of their forces it means that they could really be occupied in a couple of days," General Pavel said.
Vladimir Putin knows that he'll never see a weaker president than Obama in his lifetime. Will he take advantage of this historic opportunity offered by Obama?

Reagan Library Air Force One Pavillon video time lapse

Please enjoy this video hyperlapse of the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Unlike the Clinton Foundation--there has never been a hint of scandal surrounding the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

Oh, what is the Gipper saying here? "Parting is such sweet sorrow. The sweet part is California and the ranch and freedom. The sorrow -- the goodbyes, of course, and leaving this beautiful place."

Related posts:

(Photo) 2014 Chevy Corvette

Here's a real beauty of a sports car: a 2014 manual transmission Chevrolet Corvette in black with red interior and massive chrome wheels.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Old sex scandal behind Hastert payoffs

Farm in Hastert's old district
Here's a scandal involving former House Speaker Denny Hastert that almost no one saw coming.

From the Los Angeles Times:
On Friday, federal law enforcement officials said Hastert had paid $1.7 million over the last four years to conceal sexual abuse against a former male student he knew during his days as a teacher in Yorkville, Ill., where Hastert worked until 1981.

A top federal law enforcement official, who would not be identified speaking about the ongoing federal case, said investigators also spoke with a second man who raised similar allegations that corroborated what the former student said. The second person was not being paid by Hastert, the official said.

The disclosures followed Thursday's federal indictment against Hastert on charges of lying to the FBI about the reasons for large cash withdrawals he is accused of making to buy the man's silence.

"It goes back a long way, back to then," a second official said. "It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office."
I've only been to Yorkville once--it in the early 1980s before Hastert was elected to Congress and the village was untouched by the Chicago sprawl. Only about 5,000 people lived there then--it was one of those towns where everyone knew everyone. Things will continue to get worse for the former state champion wrestling coach.

Ironically, Hastert became speaker after a sex scandal derailed Bob Livingston of Louisiana after the resignation of Newt Gingrich.

(Photo) Rattlesnake master wildlflower

I try to be as current with my wildflower pics--but this one, rattlesnake master, I only just identified.

This photograph was taken late last summer at Miami Woods in Morton Grove, Illinois.

As for the unique name, pioneers wrongly thought that the roots of this tall plant with the green bulbous blossom, which is a member of the carrot family, could serve as an antidote to rattlesnake bites.

(MSNBC video) "It's worth asking" whether Clinton Foundation should have taken FIFA money

Earlier this seek nine FIFA officials--the international soccer governing body--were indicted for bribery.

In 2022 Qatar will host the soccer World Cup.

Both Qatar--which has a reprehensible human rights record--and FIFA have contributed to the Clinton Foundation.

On MSNBC yesterday, Jackie Kucinich discussed the latest Clinton atrocity.

Obama economy: GDP shrank in first quarter

Six and a half years into the Obama presidency the economy is still moribund. No hope, no change.

From ABC News:
The U.S. economy went into reverse in the first three months of this year as a severe winter and a widening trade deficit took a harsher toll than initially estimated.

The overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the January-March period, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The revised figure, even weaker than the government's initial estimate of a 0.2 percent growth rate, reflects a bigger trade gap and slower consumer spending. It marked the first decline since a 2.1 percent contraction in the first three months of 2014, a slump that was also blamed on winter weather.

Economists expect a rebound in the current quarter to growth of around 2 percent and expect the economy to strengthen later this year.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicago again named corruption capital of America

Chicago is number one--again.

From NBC 5 Chicago
Chicago has maintained its first-place status, but not for something for which the city should be proud.

The city was once again named the corruption capital of America, according to a report released Thursday by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The judicial district, which includes Chicago, Cook and 17 other counties across the northern tier of Illinois, reported 45 public corruption convictions for 2013 and a total of 1,642 convictions for the 38 years since 1976 when the U.S. Department of Justice began compiling the statistics, the report states.
Isn't President Obama from Illinois? Isn't Hillary Clinton from Illinois?

ILL-inois: Ex-House Speaker Hastert indicted

Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) came to politics through a unique path than other public officials. Hastert was a teacher and a wrestling coach for sixteen years before being elected to the House of Representatives in a mostly rural district.

But Denny's career may have a similar ending to other politicians, particularly those from Illinois.

From ABC 7 Chicago:
Federal prosecutors have indicted former U.S. House Speaker House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.

Read the full indictment here

Hastert, after leaving the House of Representatives, had been criticized for conducting private business through his government-funded office, but that doesn't appear to be the substance of this indictment.

The indictment alleges that between 2010 and 2014, Hastert withdrew $1.7 million dollars from a variety of different bank accounts he controlled and gave it to an unnamed person, identified at this point only as "Individual A."

Further, the indictment says that Hastert had agreed to provide Individual A with $3.5 million to "compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A." The alleged misconduct is not specified in the indictment.
Too many pols--again particularly those from Illinois--view politics as a way to strike it rich.

Sadly, Bruce Rauner, who made his money in the private sector, was criticized by liberals for "buying" the governor's office. Rauner has the order of things right--he made his money before entering politics. As for "buying" the governorship, the public-sector unions did that for Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn, the Chicago Democrats who preceded Rauner.

(Video) Hillary speaks in awful southern accent

Beware of Hillary Clinton traveling to the South--as because that is when she adopts her atrocious southern accent--as she did yesterday in a visit to South Carolina.

Perhaps she devoured some bad food at Kiki's Chicken and Waffles.

When HRC visits the Brooklyn headquarters of her presidential campaign, does she speak like Buddy Hackett?

Shocking! Illinois governor wants state employees to work 40 hours a week

The AFSCME union bosses have a sweet deal for their employees--one that ordinary Illinoisans such as myself can only dream of. But their dream is a financial nightmare for Land of Lincoln taxpayers--and the giveaways from Rod Blagojevich and his two-time running mate, Pat Quinn, have placed Illinois into functional bankruptcy.

But the bosses want their party to last forever.

The Chicago Tribune asks some questions:
Ask yourself: Do you get automatic raises based on seniority?

Do you get overtime promptly after you put in 37.5 hours in a week?

Do you get minimum pay guarantees if you're on standby or called in to work?

Do you get 13 paid holidays? The AFSCME contract gives workers Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Presidents Day, Columbus Day, the day after Thanksgiving and — of course — Election Day.
Illinois' reform governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, has suggested that state workers--gasp!--work forty hours a week. And Rauner wants to cut into the number of paid holidays state workers enjoy.

Hey AFSCME: The Great Gatsby era of Illinois spending is over. The Prairie State Depression has been with us for a while.

New Clinton controversy: Bill has a shell company

The latest Clinton financial controversy is that Bill has a shell company with no employees and assets but the former president uses it to offer consulting services.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Less extreme weather: Below normal hurricane season predicted

Global warming begat climate change begat extreme weather. The liberal Luddites who want to destroy the fossil fuel industry--particularly coal--have been using scare tactics for four decades to advance their agenda. The latest one, "extreme weather," is the claim that additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might not be warming up the planet, but it was causing more violent storms.

Well, this year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting fewer than average Atlantic Ocean hurricanes.

Google Auto Awesome daisy fleabane

Once again, courtesy of Google Auto Awesome, I have another striking image this afternoon.

Here are some daisy fleabane blossoms that I photographed in Morton Grove's Linne Woods restored tallgrass prairie on Memorial Day.

(MSNBC video) Hillary is "so removed" from Americans’ problems and "can’t relate"

Hillary Clinton says she wants to be "your champion." But does she know what Americans want? An MSNBC panel on Morning Joe today commented that Hillary is "so removed" from the problems Americans and she "can't relate."

Colmes: Hillary email release "Meaningless because any questionable emails might have already been deleted"

Liberal analyst Alan Colmes on Fox News this morning said that Friday's trumpeted release of some emails on the Benghazi murders is "meaningless because any questionable emails might have already been deleted."

The Democratic presidential candidate, contrary to federal law, used her own email server while serving as secretary of state. She later wiped that server clean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#CopsLivesMatter: Thousands line funeral route of slain Omaha cop

Omaha's skyline
Last December in New York protesters chanted, "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!" New York City's mayor is leftist Democrat Bill DeBlasio.

Last week, hours before she was to begin maternity leave, Omaha cop Kerrie Orozco was shot to death while on duty. Omaha has a Republican mayor, Jean Strothert.

In Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa, where Orozco resided, thousands of people lined her funeral route today.

See the difference?

From the Omaha World-Herald:
Many held American flags, balloons and homemade signs: Heroes Live Forever. You Made a Difference. We Support Our Men and Women in Blue. OPD Blue Forever. #KerrieOn.

As the procession started, the crowd fell silent. At one point, the only sound was the rumble of police motorcycles and a guitarist in front of the downtown library plucking “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The procession started at 1 p.m. at St. John's and ended at 2:45 p.m. at the cemetery in Council Bluffs. It took about an hour for drivers to complete the route. At one point, vehicles were entering the cemetery while others were still leaving Creighton seven miles away.

More than 450 marked cruisers with first responders from about 200 agencies from several states took part. Many officers held their phones up to the crowd, recording the scene as they passed by. At the same time, people in the crowd pointed their phones back to capture the moment.
The real America still lives.

Animation: Deer drinking from the North Branch of the Chicago River

I took several photos on my Samsung Galaxy cell phone--and looked what Google Auto Awesome did to them

That  white-tailed deer was photographed drinking from the North Branch of the Chicago River at Miami Woods in Morton Grove, Illinos.

Islamic State now a threat to critically endangered bird in Syria

Not only is ISIS a peril to people and archaeological sites--a rare bird inadvertently finds itself in the crosshairs of the the Islamic State.

From the BBC:
A rare bird may become extinct in Syria because of the capture of Palmyra by Islamic State, experts say.

A tiny breeding colony of the northern bald ibis - a critically endangered species - was found near the city in 2002.

Only one female returned from the wintering grounds in spring 2013.

Three further birds held in captivity were abandoned last week after their Bedouin guards fled the fighting. Their fate is unknown.

Chiraq: 12 dead and 43 wounded over Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend is typically quite violent in Chicago--and this year was no different. Twelve people were murdered in Chicago during the holiday weekend--and at least 43 others were wounded.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Baltimore carnage: Deadliest month since 1999

Baltimore's left-wing mayor and its agenda-driven prosecutor have declared war on the police. As the Baltimore Sun points out--it's costing people their lives. With five days still left in May, 35 people have been murdered in Maryland's largest city--already making it the deadliest month in Baltimore since 1999.
[Police Commissioner Anthony W.] Batts last week said police are struggling to stop violence in West Baltimore, where officers have been routinely surrounded by dozens of people, video cameras and hostility while performing basic police work since the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody. The Western District, the site of Gray's arrest and the epicenter of the protests and rioting that followed his death, has seen the majority of the city's recent shootings and homicides, which are coming faster than they have in eight years.

Six officers are charged criminally in Gray's death. Some police officers have said they feel hesitant on the job under intense public scrutiny.

On Friday, the director and another member of [Mayor Stephanie C.] Rawlings-Blake's criminal justice office left their jobs, marking the biggest shake-up in her administration since the recent rioting and unrest in the city. Their departures came a few weeks after the director of the city's anti-violence initiative, Operation Ceasefire, left his job voluntarily.

Throughout the 1990s, Baltimore saw more than 300 homicides every year. The death toll dropped to 253 in 2002 under then-Mayor Martin O'Malley — who instituted a tough-on-crime policing approach called "zero tolerance" — before rising to 282 in 2007, prompting then-Mayor Sheila Dixon to replace Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm with Frederick H. Bealefeld III midyear.
In a democracy, sadly, sometimes people get the government they deserve.

Houlihan's fires manager who treated veteran with service animal rudely

Algonquin Clock
There are many red faces--deservedly so--at the Houlihan's restaurant chain on Memorial Day after a manager treated a veteran with a service dog rudely in Algonquin, Illinois.

From the Daily Herald:
"This is not something that our company tolerates," said Amy Fasholt-Fisher, vice president of operations for the Kansas City-based chain. "We are taking full responsibility, offering no excuses."

The confrontation occurred Sunday at the restaurant, 1508 S. Randall Road.

The veteran, whose name was not released by the company, entered with his mother and his dog and requested to be seated, Fasholt-Fisher said.

A hostess got a manager, who asked what service the animal provides, Fasholt-Fisher said.
The manager who confronted the veteran has since been fired. The vet's mom posted about the nastiness on Facebook earlier today. "It was insulting ... so they decided to leave," a Houlihan's manager told the Daily Herald.

Monument saluting the men and women of Troy Grove, Illinois who served in our military

Troy Grove, Illinois is best known as the birthplace of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. On the other end of the park where there is a Wild Bill bust and marker is a monument for the men and women of the tiny LaSalle County village who served in our military--which was dedicated in 2012.

There are dozens of names listed at the site including a couple of Hickoks--Ogden and Robert--but not Wild Bill, who served as a scout for the Union army in the Civil War. Admittedly this is more of a Veterans Day monument, but Ogden Hickok passed away in 1976.

Related posts:

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Wild Bill Hickok

August 2, 1876: Dead man's hand and the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok

(Video) Reagan's remarks at Memorial Day ceremonies honoring an unknown serviceman of the Vietnam War

From 1984 until 1998 the remains of an unknown member of our military were buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Advances in science made it possible to identify those remains as belonging to United States Air Force First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie of St. Louis--who was later interred in his hometown.

On Memorial Day in 1984, President Ronald Reagan spoke at the interment ceremony for then-unknown serviceman from the Vietnam War.

"Many veterans of Vietnam still serve in the Armed Forces, work in our offices, on our farms, and in our factories," Reagan said on Memorial Day thirty-one years ago. "Most have kept their experiences private, but most have been strengthened by their call to duty. A grateful nation opens her heart today in gratitude for their sacrifice, for their courage, and for their noble service. Let us, if we must, debate the lessons learned at some other time. Today, we simply say with pride, 'Thank you, dear son. May God cradle you in His loving arms.'"

Related posts:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Black Jack to be pushed to the back of National World War I Memorial

World War I Monument,
Peoria, Illinois
While sadly, the First World War was not the War to End All Wars--it was not for lack of trying. As we are in the midst of the World War I centennial, attention to this bloody conflict has finally created enough interest for the creation of a national Great War memorial in Washington at Pershing Park--where there is already a statue of the commander of the American Expeditionary Force, John J. "Black Jack" Pershing.

But as Breitbart reports, the Missouri native will be pushed off to the side of the memorial. Even though the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is accepting designs for the memorial, the head of that commission, Edwin L. Fountain, says "we've moved away from the 'great man' approach to war memorials."

Maybe he has but I haven't--nor have millions of other Americans. Is appears we are headed for another debacle like Washington's bizarre and still not built Eisenhower memorial.

Illinois memorial for soldiers and sailors who died in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812

All over this great nation there are markers--big and small--noting the accomplishments of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.

This one, which you'll find in Starved Rock State Park in North Utica, Illinois, is one of the smaller ones. It reads in part, "This plaque is placed in memory of the patriots who gave their lives for their country. Soldiers of the American Revolution and the solders and sailors of the War of 1812."

Early the year the bicentennial of the end of the War of 1812 passed.

Related posts:

From DaTechGuy: Beware of the candidate without accomplishments

Last week on MSNBC Mark Halperin asked ten Iowa Hillary Clinton supporters to name one of her accomplishments while serving as Barack Obama's secretary of state.

They couldn't name any.

That's a big problem if HRC becomes president, which I discuss in my weekly post at Da Tech Guy: Beware of the candidate without accomplishments.

(Video) Vox’s Allen: Clinton’s deleted emails "Much bigger issue than the ones she voluntarily turned over"

Right before the start of the holiday weekend--a traditional dump time to limit the damage of embarrassing news--Hillary Clinton released some emails from her tenure as secretary of state.

But Vox's Jonathan Allen says the of the ones Hillary deleted from her personal server are a "much bigger issue than the ones she voluntarily turned over."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

John Wayne museum opens in Winterset, Iowa

Author at John Wayne birthplace
While Hollywood has always tilted left, it was only until fairly recently that the tilt became a kowtow.

The movie industry in its glory days had room for rock-solid conservatives such as John Wayne--who was born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 in Winterset, Iowa. Earlier today the John Wayne Museum, which is adjacent to his birthplace in the Madison County town, opened. In attendance were Wayne's daughter Aissa, Terry Brandstad, the governor of Iowa, Scott Eyman, the author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend, and of course fans of the Duke.

I visited Wayne birthplace in 2010--below is my account.

Related post:

Iowa I Opener: John Wayne's birthplace

War memorial in Seneca, Illinois

During my Illinois & Michigan Canal trip last fall I visited a memorial for the fallen in all of the American wars through Operation Desert Storm in Seneca, Illinois.

During this Memorial Day weekend remember that freedom is not free.

Related posts:

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Seneca

I&M Canal NHC at 30: Conclusion

Illinois' reform governor reveals state turnaround agenda

After 12 years of failure from Rod Blagojevich ann Pat Quinn, Illlinois finally has a governor who is putting taxpayer interests on top of those of the special interests--such as public-sector unions.

Yesterday that reformer, Republican Bruce Rauner, released his turnaround agenda.

From the Chicago Tribune:
The legislature is scheduled to adjourn May 31, but Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno dismissed the deadline and said the package of bills Rauner presented to the General Assembly represents the bare minimum for the governor and GOP lawmakers to even begin to consider a tax hike to help close a gaping $6.6 billion hole for the budget year that starts July 1.

But many of Rauner's proposals are politically toxic to Democratic lawmakers and their allies, including legislative term limits, changes in workers' compensation, limitations on damage awards in civil lawsuits, and weakened union rights for municipal workers and teachers to bargain for pay.

Rauner also is proposing a property tax freeze that many mayors oppose and allowing cities to file for bankruptcy, which many unions see as an attempt to allow municipalities to get out of pension obligations.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Largest private coal company cites Obama policies as it announces massive layoffs

Coal barge, Guttenberg, Iowa
The largest privately-run coal producer, Murray Energy, announced that is laying off nearly half of its workers in its five West Virginia plants.

More from the Pittsburgh Post-Review Powersource blog:
Murray also announced layoffs of 249 workers in Ohio and 162 people in Illinois, bringing the total to as many as 1,829 workers.

Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp. made the announcement one day after its president and CEO, Robert Murray, told a gathering at the North American Coalbed Methane Forum in Cecil that a massive workforce reduction could be coming.

In a statement, the company acknowledged both market conditions and policies from state and federal governments had led to the cuts.

"We regret that, due to the vastly increased use of natural gas in the Ohio Valley area to generate electricity, the ongoing destruction of the United State coal industry by President Barack Obama, and the excessive coal severance tax in the State of West Virginia, workforce reductions and operational changes have been forced upon the company," the statement read.

"Santa Fe Trail" to be shown at Reagan boyhood home

Here's a great idea: the folks at the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home in Dixon, Illinois will show the first of what will be many movies starring their beloved "Dutch" on Wednesday, May 27--that movie will be Santa Fe Trail. It stars Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey and of course Reagan--who plays George Armstrong Custer.

If you can't make it to Dixon, you can watch it on my YouTube channel.

Related entry:

Santa Fe Trail (1940) with Ronald Reagan--movie in its entirety--and my review

Dixon posts:

Raccoon in the North Branch of the Chicago River

This raccoon was crossing the North Branch of the Chicago River at St. Paul Woods yesterday. As they eat almost anything, perhaps it was looking for food too.

Raccoons are cute--unless they are digging through garbage.

Related post:

(Photo) Raccoon in Morton Grove on Labor Day

Omaha cop shot dead hours before start of maternity leave

Omaha's skyline
The White House sent representatives to the Freddie Gray and Michael Brown funerals.

How many will it dispatch to the funeral of an Omaha cop killed in the line of duty?

From NBC News:
Omaha cop Kerrie Orozco had put off starting maternity leave until her premature baby girl could come home from the hospital. Just hours before bringing her daughter home and taking the long-awaited leave, Orozco was gunned down on the job by a suspect.

Orozco, 29, a seven-year veteran, delivered Olivia Ruth early in February. The baby girl stayed in the hospital for three months and was scheduled to come home Thursday — when Orozco was "due to take time off to look after her," Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Thursday.

But first Orozco, who had served on the city's gang unit since 2012, went to help serve a felony arrest warrant Wednesday on 26-year-old Marcus Wheeler. Gunfire erupted, and both Orozco and Wheeler — a "convicted felon and a known gang member" wanted in relation to a previous shooting in Omaha — were hit, Schmaderer said.

Schmaderer said the fatal bullet struck Orozco, 29, in her upper chest — just above the top of her protective vest.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

(CNN video) Keilar, Bash: Email scandal “not good” for the Clinton campaign

Hillary Clinton's media protectors are beginning to turn on her--people like CNN's Brianna Keilar and Dana Bash.

They say--and of course they're right--that the Clinton email scandal is not good for the presidential candidate.

Junk City: Chicago has slowest growth of top ten cities

People are voting with their feet in America's third largest city--one whose bonds are rated as junk by Moody's Investor's Services.

From NBC 5 Chicago:
Chicago's population saw the slowest growth rates of any of the top 10 cities in the U.S. from 2013-2014, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city grew by just 82 residents during the one-year period, an increase of just .003 percent, officials said. That;s compared to New York, which saw an increase of 52,700 and Los Angeles, which grew by 30,924 people.

Though Chicago still maintains its third-place status with 2,722,389 people as of July 1, 2014, Houston closely follows with 2,239,588 residents. The Texas city also grew by 1.6 percent from 2013-2014 with an increase of 35,752 residents.
A massive unfunded pension liability for city workers is the reason for Chicago's rotten credit. Why should people move there--most of whom don't have pensions--so they can bail out those who do.

ISIS is winning: Controls half of Syria, captures another historic city

Earlier this week the Islamic State captured Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's al Anbar province. Around that same time the terror group seized the ancient city of Palmyra--which probably means it will be destroyed as ISIS detests pre-Islamic historical sites. Nimrud stood for 3,000 years--until ISIS came there.

Half of Syria is controlled by the Islamic State.

They are winning--we are losing.

Clinton pal exposes another Hillary lie

If Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't wipe the personal email server you used to conduct public duties we could learn even more about this story.

From Fox News:
A longtime Clinton confidant reportedly advised then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton two days after the 2012 Benghazi terror attack that an Al Qaeda-tied group had planned the deadly assault and used a protest as cover -- but despite this warning, Clinton's U.N. ambassador went on to publicly claim the attack was "spontaneous."

The guidance from ex-Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal was contained in a memo sent Sept. 13, according to The New York Times. It is the latest documentation effectively contradicting the administration's early narrative that the attack was driven by protests over an anti-Islam Internet video -- and raising questions over why officials stuck to that story for days.

According to the Times, Blumenthal initially blamed "demonstrators" angry over that video for the attacks. But the next day, he sent Clinton a very different memo.

According to the Times, Blumenthal told Clinton the attack was driven by Al Qaeda-tied Ansar al-Shariah members who had planned it for a month and used a protest as cover. He cited "sensitive sources."
Clinton also blamed the Benghazi murders on that Z-list video.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Obama lectures Coast Guard graduates on global warming

Lake Michigan
Global warming is a religion and a computer modeled pseudo-science. And according to our leftist president, it's also a national security threat too.

From the Hartford Courant:
NEW LONDON — President Barack Obama warned graduating Coast Guard cadets Wednesday that their careers would be spent battling the "indisputable" effects of climate change, a global menace with the power to weaken American infrastructure and stoke unrest around the world

Rescuing people in distress, stopping terrorists at ports, seizing international drug shipments and patrolling waters in the Middle East are part of their duties, Obama told the 217 new officers at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement at Cadet Memorial Field.

At the same time, they must contend with a warmer planet, melting glaciers and rising seas — "an immediate risk to our national security," Obama said.

"Even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot and we must not ignore a peril that can affect generations," said Obama, calling for more renewable energy and curbing of carbon emissions. "Cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service. ... You know the beauty of the sea, but you also know its unforgiving power."

(Photo) 1947 Greyhound bus

While St. Paul hosted the 2008 Republican National Convention, Minneapolis was the home of CivicFest, where media registration for the RNC took place.

Among the attractions at CivicFest, besides George Washington and Abraham Lincoln reenactors, was this 1947 Greyhound bus, which was on loan from Hibbing, Minnesota's Greyhound Bus Museum.

Related post:

My Mississippi Manifest Destiny: Clarksdale's Old Greyhound Station

(MSNBC video) Everyday Iowans can’t name a Hillary Clinton accomplishment during her tenure as SoS

Exactly why do these people support Hillary Clinton? None of these Iowans can name a single accomplishment of hers while serving as secretary of state.

Dem senator won't watch Game of Thrones anymore because of rape scene

With regular beheadings, burnings at the stake, slavery, a perverted dwarf--who's actually not that bad of a guy--HBO's Game of Thrones is not for the little ones. But it also offers insight it how evil people can be.
But it just lost one viewer--one who should stick to her job.

Sunday's episode ended with a disturbing rape scene.

From Fox News:
In a comment tweeted Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., described the sexual assault in the most-recent episode of the hit show as "gratuitous" and "disgusting." She added she was done with the show.

Others critics included the website The Mary Sue, which offers a feminist view of pop culture. The website posted that it would no longer promote "Game of Thrones" and said that rape is not a device to drive a story.

HBO declined comment Tuesday on the reaction to the episode that debuted last Sunday. An after-hours call to McCaskill's office seeking further comment was not immediately returned.

The attack involved newly married characters Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, and Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon. Ramsay's rape of Sansa was off-camera, suggested in her cries and the distress on a bystander's face.
Each episode begins with viewer warnings.

I'll be watching next week.

Flint: What if they gave a mayoral election and no one came?

Michael Moore's self-anointed hometown--Flint, Michigan--has a problem that the obese leftist can't blame on General Motors closing a plant there.

Flint-area officials, including Clerk Inez Brown and Genesee County Clerk-Register John Gleason, are expected to testify today, May 20, about the need to change state law to allow for a standard mayoral primary election in August.

Both officials are waiting to address the state House of Representatives Elections Committee about House Bill 4589, which would amend Michigan's election law to correct an error made by Brown's office.

Flint officials have said the city clerk's office mistakenly told candidates for mayor and two City Council seats that they had until April 28 to file nominating petitions with her office.

But the actual deadline -- established by state law -- was April 21, and no mayoral candidates filed early enough to qualify for the ballot.
If the law isn't changed there will be no primaries and the general election will be an all-write in contest.

As for Moore, he grew up not in Flint, but a the nearby wealthy suburb of Davison.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's about the dues: Union wants second engineer in Amtrak locomotives

"You never let a serious crisis go to waste."
Rahm Emanuel.

Several of my relatives--most of whom have passed on--worked in various capacities in the railroad business. One was an engineer for the Illinois Central--just like Casey Jones. His first job for the IC was as a fireman. No, he didn't put out blazes, in the old days firemen on trains were responsible for shoveling coal to power steam powered trains. However, by the time my uncle was a fireman, the Illinois Central was only using diesel power locomotives. Arcane union rules kept the fireman position alive until railroad after railroad declared bankruptcy in the 1960s. Train buffs like to blame the creation of the interstate highway system for the fall of the railroads, but union payroll featherbedding played a part.

So taxpayers should be suspicious when unions want to add people to the payroll. Because I believe it's all about extracting dues from paychecks and nothing else.

How many drivers are on a Greyhound bus?

From AP:
The union for Amtrak's locomotive engineers urged the railroad on Tuesday to put a second crew member at the controls of trains on the busy Northeast Corridor, where a derailment killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.

"The public would never accept an airline operation with a single person in the cockpit," the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said in a statement. "There is no reason that rail employees and rail passengers' lives should be viewed any differently."

Brandon Bostian, 32, was alone in the locomotive of Train 188 when it derailed May 12, about 10 minutes after departing Philadelphia for New York.

Amtrak hasn't had a second crew member in the locomotive of its Northeast Corridor trains since Congress ended the requirement in the early 1980s, the union said.

After violent Chicago weekend--Father Pfleger points finger at Gov. Rauner

Ten Commandments
Rather than preaching personal responsibility and the following the the Ten Commandments, the South Side's radical meddlesome priest, Father Michael Pfleger, is complaining about Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois' Republican reform governor.

From NBC Chicago:
After a particularly bloody weekend in Chicago, Fr. Michael Pfleger pointed to Gov. Bruce Rauner's declared budget cuts as a future obstacle in stemming the violence.

"With all these state cuts taking place in this city, all the jobs that are not going to be there, the programs are not going to be there, I think it's frightening what's ahead of us right now in this city," Pfleger, the pastor at St. Sabina Church, told NBC Chicago.
Illinois is broke--when will Pfleger figure that out?

Another day, another Clinton email controversy

Americans: Do you really want four years of this chicanery?

From Fox News:
The Hillary Clinton email mystery took yet another confusing turn Tuesday with accusations from Republicans that the former secretary of state "misled" the public about her email practices, by using multiple "secret" addresses despite claims to the contrary.

However, a spokesman with the House committee probing the 2012 Benghazi attack, and Clinton's handling of it, would not go so far. Rather, he told the confusion only further underscores the need to subject Clinton's private server to a third-party analysis, saying that's the only way to resolve this.

The questions over multiple Clinton addresses were raised after emails were published as part of a lengthy New York Times report on Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal's memos on Libya before and after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. The emails show Clinton writing from the address, This is distinct from the other address she has acknowledged using as secretary of state,

CNN's Zeleny: Hillary "supporters say she needs to be more clear on her positions"

It's been 28 days, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reported today, since Hillary Clinton has taken a question. As for what HRC stands for, ever her "supporters say she needs to be more clear on her positions."

Hillary stands for one thing--advancing herself.

Junk City: Chicago's pension crisis get just one line in Rahm's 2nd inaugural address

Darkness is coming to Chicago
Last week Chicago's massive unfunded pension bomb caused Moody's Investor's Service to double downgrade Chicago's credit rating--lowering the city's bonds to junk status. Moody's put the same mark of shame on Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District.

Yesterday morning Mayor Rahm Emanuel was sworn in for a second term. In his inaugural address, the Tiny Dancer devoted just one line to the pension debacle.

Rahm's attitude is worth another credit downgrade.

Monday, May 18, 2015

(Photos) The most remote place in Cook County, Illinois

Cook County, Illinois is America's second-most populous county. But there are some respites from the sprawl, such as Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve west of Palos Park. It's named for Sauers, the longtime superintendent of the Cook County Forest Preserve District, he was easily the greatest Cook public servant ever.

While remote, the Sag Valley Trail traverses much of it. My cross country and track teammates at Carl Sandburg High School and I used to run through the Holding at least twice a week. Although when I last visited last weekend, I accessed Cap Sauers from state Route 83, instead of where we used to on 104th Street.

This is the Esker Trail, which sits atop a geological feature called, you guessed it, an esker. This crushed stone trail was an old access road for an old gravel quarry. When I was a kid, there was a sign here that said, "Take a walk on an old country lane." From my research, no one seems to care, despite the closed sign, if you walk on the trail, I believe the sign is there to keep cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and ATVs off of it.

A wetland along the trail.

A patch of mayapples--also known as the umbrella plant.

A mayapple blossom.

Volunteers have done a yeoman's task by clearing out invasive species in the nature preserve such as garlic mustard and European buckthorn.

Woodland, also known as common, phlox.

The terrain at Cap Sauers is quite hilly on Chicago area standards.

A red trillium.

Somewhere near this site--heck, it may be this spot--is the most remote place in Cook County--the farthest from any road. It's where the Esker Trail meets with what we called in high school the Ford Road Loop. When I was a freshman fear kept me from straying from the main pack of runners--I didn't want to get lost. This Cook County Forest Preserve Police alarm is coddling today's runners.

A wild geranium photographed near that remotest place.

More wild--a wild strawberry blossom with a few raindrops on its petals.

Spring was still emerging last week.

About ten miles northeast of Cap Sauers Holding is the Chicago Portage. The area was named "Chicagoua" by the Native Americans living in the area when the first European explorers traveled through the area--the portage was filled possibly this very plant, what we call the wild leek, or wild onion. I found this blooming member of the lily family across Route 83 from Cap Sauers.

Chiraq: 2 dead and at least 47 wounded over weekend

The last weekend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first term was very violent--two people were murdered and at least 47 others--including an 81 year-old woman with dementia--were wounded.

The last two days were also the first weekend since Moody's downgraded Chicago's bonds to junk status.

There is failure everywhere in America's third-largest city.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

From Gateway Pundit: BREAKING: #Ferguson protest leaders paid $5K a month do disrupt and instigate violence

One of the tired leftist chants used by the Ferguson protesters was "This is what democracy looks like." Wrong, just as with Occupy, the Ferguson extremists were a harmful rabble. Gateway Pundit has more. BREAKING: #Ferguson protest leaders paid $5,000 a month do disrupt and instigate violence.

Global warming: Kerry compares himself to Lincoln, Gandhi,and Churchill

Barack Obama isn't the only megalomaniac in the Obama administration. In a speech given last week, Secretary of State John Kerry, while discussing climate change, compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Winston Churchill.

From Da Tech Guy: Chicago, America's Junk City

Once again I return to Chicago for my weekly post at Da Tech Guy: Chicago, America's Junk City.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

New climate change panic: Will global warming kill off skiing in North America?

Park City Utah, Feb. 2015
The London Telegraph, one of the saner media outlets in Great Britain, at least for now has chicken-little fever.
After another dreadful ski season for many resorts in North America, scientists warn that the future of skiing and snowboarding could be in jeopardy as a result of global warming.

Resorts across California and Oregon were forced to close early this year due to lack of snow. In Utah, which boasts the tag-line "Greatest Snow on Earth", even emblazoning it across its licence plates, Park City endured a fifth consecutive season of below average snowfall.
Of course if the environmentalists had their way there'd be no skiing or snowboarding at all in the Rockies and other western mountainous areas. I'm sure they'll come up with some obscure minnow that might be impacted by ski resorts. And of course since skiing can only take place in isolated areas, they'll point to fossil fuel usage.

Oh, when Mrs. Marathon Pundit was in Park City three months ago, there was piles of snow to ski on.

(Ronald Reagan Foundation Video) Release of the Goats - Hyperlapse

Occasionally the staff of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum use goats to control chaparral brush that surrounds the facility.

Going back to his days growing up in rural northern Illinois, our 40th president loved interacting with nature and he had a profound love of the land.

Related posts:

(Photos) Northern water snake submerged

They are called northern waters snakes because they live near water and sometimes these reptiles are underwater.

This serpent was photographed on Des Plaines, Illinois' Big Bend Lake--on the west end, which I like to call Snake Shore.

Northern water snakes are often mistaken for poisonous water moccasins--but they are not native to northern Illinois.

Water snakes eat fish, amphibians and small rodents. While not poisonous, these reptiles are mean and they'll bite people. Give them space.

Related post:

(Photo) Northern water snake