Friday, November 17, 2017

Taxwinkle opponent Fioretti proposed a commuter tax when he was a Chicago alderman

While I was in Detroit I learned that former Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti announced that he is running for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in other words, he's the only declared opponent of the loathed Toni "Taxwinkle" Preckwinkle, the leftist behind the county soda tax and the increase of the county sales tax.

The repeal of the hated one-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax takes effect next month.

But if you see somehow see Fioretti as a friend of hard-pressed Crook County taxpayers, then you need an education. Not only is Fioretti not ruling out future tax hikes if he's elected, but it's important to remind voters, particularly suburban ones, that Fioretti, in his brief Chicago mayoral run two years ago, proposed a one-percent commuter tax.

"Yes, people in the suburbs may not want to pay it, but I;ve heard from a number of suburbanites. When they come here, they want what? They want safe streets. They want clean streets. They want emergency medical care if something happens to them," Fioretti said three years ago. "And so, a small tax – which they can deduct off of their income tax – is helpful for this city."

It's always a small tax with liberals. Until a few years when the rate goes up. That's why new taxes should be vigorously opposed.

If the Republican House tax bill becomes law, that commuter tax deduction will vanish.

Speaking of Detroit, the Motor City also has a commuter tax.

How is that working out?

Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part Two)

Yesterday I presented part one of Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor.

Here is part two.

The home I grew up in Palos Heights, Illinois had a yew hedge in front of it.

This looks like a sweet little home--let's walk in.

Scrappers have moved in and moved on.

Walking into an abandoned home is hazardous. Sometimes the flooring is rotted--and its collapse can cause an injury, and if this house had a basement, the fall can be fatal. But I entered anyway. And sometimes indigents live inside who may not be happy about an uninvited urban explorer barging in. Two years ago I walked into a seeming vacant house when I encountered a prostitute with a client.

On the other hand, feel free to live through me.

"And I bought a little cottage in a neighborhood serene," is a lyric from a song popularized by Gram Parsons, Streets of Baltimore. As I mentioned in Part One, Brightmoor was originally settled largely by Appalachian whites. In Streets of Baltimore, written by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard, a wife begs her husband to sell their farm and move north for city excitement. Had more words rhymed with Detroit, the tune could have easily been written about the Motor City.

Call me a ruin porn propagator, if you will. But your beloved Blogger Laureate of Illinois is an artist. But last year another American artist, Ryan Mendoza, shipped the facade of an abandoned home at Eight Mile Road to Europe for some bizarre exhibit. But the artist left behind an uglier mess because the shell of the old house remained. Perhaps the joke is on Detroit--many artists believe ugly is beautiful and what is attractive should be shunned. The great Tom Wolfe wrote a book on that subject, The Painted Word.

As the saying goes, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."

There are few pedestrians and few cars in Brightmoor. Yes, this is the Motor City.

Near the western edge of Brightmoor there are some rolling hills, most likely moraines. On the bottom right is a driveway leading nowhere. Understandably quietude dominates, save for the occasional roar from a distant train--just as in the country--or a blaring siren, which of course is more an urban sound.

The murals read "God's work our hand" and "Peace."

That's rubble from a burned-down house. And note the emptiness in the background.

Whoah, is this a mistake? No, it's a Brightmoor two story beauty. Next to it is a typical dismal home. I asked the woman sitting on the porch if that home was recently built. She replied, "I don't know when it went up."
Then she asked me, "Do you have a smoke?"

That's right. You see three forsaken Detroit homes in a row.

Knock, knock, who's there?

There is nobody home but Siberian elms. Weed trees such as that species and another Asian invader, mulberries, are quite common in Detroit's ruins.

It's as if someone just plopped that old home there.

These Siberian elms have are blessed with glorious autumn foliage.The trees are probably ten years old--which is a good estimate of the amount of time this frame house has been abandoned.

Related post: Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part One)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Detroit: Brightmoor or Blightmoor? (Part One)

I've returned from my second but no doubt not my last trip to Detroit. Yes, it was a vacation, albeit a working one. Working on my blog, that is.

The Motor City, after decades of neglect and gross mismanagement, is on the rebound. Downtown, Midtown, Corktown, and New Center are thriving. Really, they are.

Then there is Brightmoor in northwest Detroit, or what some folks call Blightmoor. Or Blight More. If you want to experience a rural setting in a major city, then Brightmoor is for you. Detroit, unlike Chicago, doesn't have set neighborhood boundaries, but Wikipedia says it is "generally bordered by Evergreen Road, Telegraph Road, Puritan Road, and Interstate 96." The same source says 12,000 people lived there in 2010, according to the US Census.

On the 14100 block of Braile Street, what appears to have been a silver maple, is resting on this cottage.

Always, always, plant silver maples very far from your house.

I only saw a few of these banners.

We are only temporary residents of this world. As are our creations. But the Bible phrases is more poetically.

"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." Matthew 19:29.

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2.

According to Wikipedia, Brightmoor began in 1922 as a planned community of inexpensive homes for Appalachian whites who migrated north for auto industry jobs. It was annexed by Detroit four years later.

Most of Brightmoor's houses are one-story units with "Michigan basements," that is, dirt crawl spaces beneath them.

Stick with me on this one, my friends. What's so unusual about this abandoned home? There's a pole in front of it. And? So? What? Well, it's all that is left of a chain link fence that scrappers have stolen. A few minutes after I took this photograph I almost destroyed my left shoe--and nearly injured my foot--when I stumbled over a sharp stump of a scavenged fence post.

A few blocks later I found this message: Scrappers will be shot! But will there be a warning shot first?

Here is Charlie Brown's home, on the northwest corner of Brightmoor.

Many Blightmoor homes have been tarted up.

"Rejoice," it says.

The only cloud I saw that day was painted on this home. It was a glorious day for photography.

This part of the neighborhood has gone from Brightmoor to Blightmoor to No-More-Blight. Do you want wide open skies and spaces? You can find them in some parts of Detroit.

Oh, those two houses are occupied.

I did promise you a rural setting, right?

The weeds are eating my house!

Despite the Douglas firs, eyes will gravitate to the trash. Yes, there are a few two story houses in Brightmoor.

So many Detroit homes have been torched. Insurance fraud? Vandalism? Boredom? Hatred?

Johnny, a neighborhood denizen, told me that white-tailed deer are common in western Brightmoor, which is adjacent to River Rouge.

Finally, all over Detroit I saw gray squirrels with black fur, in fact a majority of the squirrels in Detroit are black. I see them all of the time in Morton Grove. The Chicago Tribune's Mary Schmich saw a black squirrel once--and she reacted as if she discovered Bigfoot. She has a Pulitzer Prize and I don't.

Warning: Urban exploration is a dangerous hobby. Most urbanex spots are in high crime areas. If you choose to follow my lead, please exercise extreme caution.

Next: Part two.

UPDATE: Part two is here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

On the road...

Blogging will be very light for the next days as I travel again back into red state America. Thanks for continually visiting Marathon Pundit.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toby Keith at the Make America Great Again concert: Courtesy of the Red White and Blue

Toby Keith was one of the artists who performed at the Make America Great Again concert in Washington on the night before the inauguration of President Donald J Trump.

Watch him belt out his patriotic classic, "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue." Yes, the president-elect was there.

Think of the veterans--and thank them--today on Veterans Day.

Wisconsin historical markers for Veterans Day

Wisconsin does a spectacular job of marking its history with historical markers at its rest areas. Are you paying attention, other states?

On Veterans Day I have a couple of them for you.

On US Route 41 at Rest Area 64 near Lomira--on the northbound lanes--you'll find this historical commemoration.

It reads:
More than 330,000 Wisconsin residents, including 9,000 women, served in the armed forces between December 7, 1941, and the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. They participated in every theater of war and in virtually every major campaign, from Wake Island to New Guinea, from France and Romania to Burma and Okinawa. Approximately 8,000 perished. Another 13,000 were wounded in combat. Fifteen earned the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

On the home front, Wisconsin contributed its share and more to Allied victory. Despite shortages of feed, fertilizer, new machinery, and labor, state farmers delivered record amounts of agricultural products. Wisconsin’s industries responded similarly, producing automotive components, marine engines, ammunition, air-craft parts, uniforms, footgear, even ocean-going vessels such as frigates, minesweepers, cargo ships, and submarines. And on farms and in factories throughout the state, women and schoolchildren took the place of men in uniform.

World War II was truly a "people's war."
Although technically not a rest area--there are no washroom facilities--just south of the Michigan state line there is a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign. In the selfie era of our culture that qualifies as a premier pullover stop. And that is where, on US Route 45 north of Land O'Lakes, you'll find a historical marker noting the Thirty-Second Division Memorial Highway. US 45 runs concurrently with Wisconsin Route 32, which runs from Wisconsin's northern border to Pleasant Prairie and the Illinois state line.

The 32nd Infantry Division consisted of National Guard soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin. In World War I it was the first allied division to cross the Hindenburg Line, the division's symbol, a red arrow, pays tribute to its ability to pierce the enemy's defenses in the Great War.

In World War II the Red-Arrow Division fought in the Pacific Theater.

This marker reads:
The 32nd Division was organized in 1917. Originally it was made up of National Guardsmen from Wisconsin and Michigan.

World War I: Fought in Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. Vanquished 23 German Divisions. Served in the Army of Occupation in Germany. De-activated in 1919.

World War II: One of the first to be called. Fought offensively in the Buna-Sanananda Operations. Saidor, Aitape, Morotai, Biak, Leyte and Luzon campaigns. 654 days in action in the Pacific Theater. Served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. De-activated in 1946.

This highway is dedicated to the gallant men of the Thirty-Second Red Arrow Division who made the supreme sacrifice in both wars.

Friday, November 10, 2017

(PragerU) What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Ex-Google software engineer James Damore challenged political correctness, specifically on gender, in an internal document.

What happened?

You know already.

Brazile slams Obama ego in her book

One problem with demagogues such as Barack Obama is that they stunt the next generation of leadership.

Who are the possible challengers to President Trump in three years? Joe Biden? He turns 75 this month. Bernie Sanders? He's 76. Elizabeth Warren? You mean Pocahontas? Hillary Clinton? Puh-leaze! Kamala Harris? Who?

Obama the demagogue also left his party in debt.

From AOL:
Former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile said the Democratic party was "leeched of its vitality" by former President Barack Obama and others in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign.

“We had three Democratic parties: The party of Barack Obama, the party of Hillary Clinton, and this weak little vestige of a party led by [Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz] that was doing a very poor job getting people who were not president elected,” Brazile wrote in her newly released 2016 campaign tell-all, titled "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House."

Brazile accused the 44th president of caring "deeply about his image" and using the committee to act as a bank for his personal "political expenses."

Obama "used the party to provide for political expenses like gifts to donors, and political travel," Brazile wrote, adding that the politician also used DNC funds for "his pollster and focus groups" later into his second term although he couldn't run for president again.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Senate wants to delay corporate tax cut until 2019

Patriots need to drain the swamp. And that includes recalcitrant Republicans.

From Reuters:
U.S. Senate Republicans version of a tax cut bill will delay corporate rate cuts by one year to take effect in 2019, and will not include a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, Republican Senate Finance Committee member Bill Cassidy said.

Chicago: Cook County public defenders file lawsuit over inmates masturbating in their presence

Of course these public defenders can always refuse to work with jailbirds who can't keep it in their pants.

Regardless, there is a moral sickness in Chicago.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
A half-dozen employees of the Cook County Public Defender’s office have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, claiming county officials have done nothing to protect them from inmates who masturbate in front of them during visits to the jail and courtroom holding cells.

The federal lawsuit describes almost daily encounters in which detainees masturbate and leer at the lawyers during meetings with clients – a phenomenon the complainants say has been on the rise at the jail dating back to 2015.

The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of women working for the office, including more than 200 of 400 staff attorneys.

Public defenders' "work is grueling and their caseloads are heavy, but they are almost uniformly driven by their love of the important work they do," the lawsuit reads.
Love for their work? Maybe. Love for their clients? Unlikely.

What would Clarence Earl Gideon have to say?

Related post:

Public defenders at Chicago's Cook County Jail pushed to breaking point over inmates masturbating in front of them

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Pension racket: Retired Illini athletic director collects $500K annually

Call me old fashioned if you like, but I still believe that a pension should be for providing financial security to someone who is too old or too ill to work anymore. It should not be delayed compensation.

Perhaps for some people $500,000 a year is their idea of financial security.

From the Chicago Tribune:
When the University of Illinois gave a large pay raise to its longtime athletic director a decade ago, it offered an example of the ever-increasing salary arms race to lure and keep college coaches and administrators.

That raise for Ron Guenther has also quietly become an example of just how much the arms race can cost the state’s struggling pension funds years down the road, as Guenther’s annual university pension approaches $500,000 a year.
Yes, that's a taxpayer-funded pension.

A University of Illinois professor, Jay Rosenstein, did some research on program to keep professors and people like Guenther from bailing on the college.

He argues the salary arms race was sold to taxpayers as a win-win: that the university could pay big bucks to keep and lure talented people, who in turn could produce a program that would bring in more than enough money to cover those higher salaries.

Instead, he said, the university and its students subsidize the program, and taxpayers contribute to large pension tabs years later. He tabulated the cost of retirement checks for 18 former U. of I. coaches and sports administrators at more than $2.6 million a year — with Guenther topping that list.
"Amatuer" college sports is an expensive racket, just like public-worker pensions in Illinois. Yes, even at my alma mater, which for the most part has crappy sports teams.

I wonder how much Guenther paid into the pension fund?

Fake news orgy with Trump's Japan visit

Made in the USA: 2018 Honda Accord
The mainstream media got caught peddling news that is clearly fake. Two days ago during his trip to Japan President Donald J. Trump made a comment in jest about the need for Japanese automakers to build more cars in the United States. They already do and they have been for years. But that didn't stop the fake news media, taking the lead of CNN, from squealing that Trump is a crude bumpkin who doesn't know what he's talking about.

On the same day the president, alongside the Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe, fed koi fish in a ceremony. The Guardian, a British leftist paper, mocked Trump as boor for callously pouring a whole box of food for the beautiful fish while the prime minister fed them more gingerly. CNN piled on.

It turns out that Trump fed the fish in the same manner as Abe did. Yes, the PM also poured in the whole box.

The anti-Trump media sees one purpose when it reports on the president: Find a way to make him look bad.

This is not reporting. This is propaganda.

On this day in 2016: Trump wins the presidency

Election Day 2016 was a year ago today. And on this day Donald J. Trump shocked the world by upsetting Hillary Rodham Clinton in an historic win. Trump is the first non-politician and non-general to win the presidency.

As for Clinton, on November 7, 2016 liberals boasted that she was the most qualified person ever to seek the presidency. Two days later libs dismissed Trump's win by declaring, "Well, she just wasn't a very good candidate."

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

PragerU Video: Why No One Trusts the Mainstream Media

Former CBS reporter Sheryl Atkisson, one of the few honest journalists with mainstream media chops, discusses why there is such distrust of the establishment media.

Opinion has become news in this bizarre world of 21st century journalism. And innocent misstatements by liberals such as Barack Obama--remember his 57 states comment?--are for the most part ignored. He meant to say 47 states, Atkisson reminds us. But when Sarah Palin said, "We've got to stand by our North Korean allies," the propagandists in the media piled on. Palin of course meant "South Korea."

Atkisson's PragerU video about the mainstream media should be required viewing at every journalism school in the country.

Ricketts shuts down news sites after pro-union vote

Marathon Pundit at Wrigley
I'm a little late to the party on this story, but I need to put in my two cents. TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, shut down DNAChicago and the Gothamist, two sites that did a fairly decent job of reporting local news. Journalists at the Gothamist voted to join a union--and Ricketts, a generous contributor to Republican candidates--vowed to shut down both money-losing sites if the New York publication chose to organize.

We live in a society filled with empty threats--kudos to Ricketts for following through.

As for unions, Illinois is surrounded with one exception, Missouri, by right-to-work states. Even Michigan has joined the trend. Show Me State voters will be asked next year to be the 28th right-to-work state. Big Labor is on the wrong side of history.Is Amazon union? No? Nor is Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, or Twitter.

The whining from the left-wing media betrays a lot of bias--and stupidity. The Chicago Readers calls it the "fearsomeness of labor." Really? If that was true DNAChicago and Gothamist would still be going concerns. Sheesh.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Marathon Pundit is where you need to buy when shopping Amazon

Oh boy, here we are, another Marathon Pundit Amazon reminder. There are expenses involved with this blog and one way--which will cost you nothing extra--to say thanks is to click on an Amazon ad when you are planning to purchase from

Take a look at today's Gold Box specials!

Chiraq: 5 dead and at least 24 murdered over weekend

The first weekend November saw five people murdered in Chicago--with at least 25 others wounded. One person was shot to death in these five neighborhoods: West Town, Archer Heights, South Shore, West Pullman, and Washington Heights. 

Trump on Twitter says "May God b/with the people of Sutherland Springs"

There was a mass shooting at a church in south Texas yesterday. Twenty people are dead and 26 others are wounded. The killer is dead.

President Trump weighed in on Twitter from Japan.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

From Da Tech Guy, Trump one year later: The Deplorables knew all along

Never a doubt a Deplorable.

From my weekly post at Da Tech Guy: Trump one year later: The Deplorables knew all along.

Navy veteran declines New Orleans Saints award over players kneeling during Anthem

John Wells, a retired Navy commander, was to receive an award from the New Orleans Saints that honors his work for veterans.

But Wells is refusing the Saints' gesture because some NFL players--including some with Saints--have kneed during Our National Anthem.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

John Fogerty: Centerfield

Major League Baseball concluded another successful season--and for the second straight year the World Series enjoyed fantastic ratings. As for the NFL, because some ingrate millionaire athletes refuse to stand for Our National Anthem, football's loss is baseball's gain.

John Fogerty is a loyal baseball fan--his comeback album was the Centerfield.

Watch and listen to the title track.

Trump slams Bowe Bergdahl ruling

Bowe Bergdahl betrayed his country when he abandoned his post to join up with the Taliban. Three American soldiers died looking for him.

Today the scumbag received his sentence--no jail time.

President Donald J. Trump is furious--as any justice respecting American should be.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Gutfeld on the worst political campaign ad ever

Greg Gutfeld calls this Latino Victory Fund ad attacking Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie as "worst political campaign ad ever."

In it, a white man in dark sunglasses driving a truck with a Confederate flag and a Gillespie bumper sticker chases fearful minority children through a suburban neighborhood.

The day after it hit the airwaves the group pulled the ad--which was the same day as the ISIS New York City bike path murders.

Gregg Jarrett breaks down the DNC rigging controversy

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett explains the DNC--Hillary Clinton "rigging" controversy--and says that laws may have been broken. Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer joins in.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

MSNBC details ex-DNC chair’s exposé on Hillary campaign's collusion with party brass during primaries

The Republican Party is the party of the people. Stick with me on this one. By most accounts Donald Trump was the least popular presidential candidate among the GOP establishment. And he not only triumphed over 17 challengers in the primaries but the political newcomer bested Hillary Clinton as well.

Earlier today in a Politico piece Donna Brazile, who as the interim Democratic National Committee chair in late 2016, says the Hillary Clinton campaign colluded with the DNC to rig the nomination for HRC--shafting Bernie Sanders.

Power to the people, right on!

In a rare moment of sanity, the panel on MSNBC's Morning Joke--I mean Morning Joe--discussed the fixing of the Democratic nomination.

Alleged Chicago robber who shot himself in penis charged

Near the site of the robbery
In a follow-up from a story from earlier this week, we learn that there is another violation of the penal code in play here.

From the Chicago-Sun-Times:
Charges have been filed against a man who shot himself in the penis after allegedly robbing two people Tuesday morning in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side.

Terrion Pouncy, 19, faces two felony counts of robbery while armed with a firearm, according to Chicago Police.

Just after 6 a.m., he robbed two people at gunpoint at a business in the 700 block of West 116th Place, police said. He got away with their cellphones, wallets and cash.
Related post:

Public defenders at Chicago's Cook County Jail pushed to breaking point over inmates masturbating in front of them

GOP tax plan revealed

I'm still not tired of winning.

From Fox News:
House Republicans on Thursday unveiled their long-awaited tax bill which preserves the popular 401K retirement account, lowers rates for many individual households but trims deductions for state and local taxes.

A summary of the plan, which was made available to reporters ahead of its public release, would also reduce the cap on the popular deduction to interest on mortgages to $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The current cap is $1 million.

The plan also limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes. Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey had come out strongly against it.
As for that last one--I love it! When they regularly raise taxes blue state leftists try to soften the blow by explaining that local property and income taxes can be deducted from federal returns. My property taxes aren't that high yet, but I lose the state income tax deduction. Limousine liberals will be hit hard. As for myself, it will be a net-win financially.

Perhaps blue state Democrats and complicit Republicans will be less likely to raise property and income taxes in the future. Well, probably not, unless they are replaced by financially responsible public servants.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Choose Marathon Pundit when shopping on Amazon

Here's another opportunity for you to say "thank you," without paying anything extra, by clicking on an Amazon ad when you are shopping.

I get a tiny commision--and that money gets plowed into the blog.

BGA: City Colleges of Chicago gives degrees to students without their knowledge

And the education available at these city colleges might actually be worth those non-existent diplomas.

From the Better Government Association:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel often boasts of having "reinvented" City Colleges of Chicago: soaring graduation rates, record numbers of degrees and a community college system transformed into a national model for education reform.

But the glowing portrait is largely an illusion — a crash course in data manipulation that has turned the seven-campus community college system into one where it is easier to get a degree but often more difficult to get an education, a Better Government Association investigation has found.

Since 2010, City Colleges has watered down its curriculum, violated its own rules on what constitutes a degree, changed the way it counts statistics and bestowed thousands of degrees — sometimes in multiples to the same person — to current and former students who in many cases neither requested nor wanted them, the investigation found.

Leftist NYC mayor on Twitter day before ISIS attack: "As long as @realDonaldTrump is in office, New York City will stand up to him every single day"

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a leftist who honeymooned in Fidel Castro's Cuba, insulted President Donald J. Trump on the day before eight people were killed by an ISIS jihadi in Manhattan in a Tweet, "As long as @realDonaldTrump is in office, New York City will stand up to him every single day."

The federal government, of which Trump leads, is of course a large part of the investigation in the worst terrorist attack in New York since 9/11.

Mark Levin: Donald Trump is trying to protect America

The accused mass murderer who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a lower Manhattan path yesterday--in the name of ISIS--entered the United States from Uzbekistan on a "diversity visa" program created by US Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  when he was a member of the House, Mark Levin tells us here.

He adds that President Trump is simply trying to protect Americans.