Monday, December 10, 2018

(PragerU) Why Does America Spend So Much on Israel?

Good question. Why does our nation spend so much cash on Israel.

Find out!

Man shot while canvassing for candidate in Chicago

"Politics ain't beanbag," a character in a story set in Chicago over 100 years ago said.

And it still isn't, particularly in Chicago's violent Englewood.

From Fox Chicago:
A man who was out canvassing for a Chicago aldermanic candidate was shot and wounded Sunday.

Maxwell Little, 22, was at 66th and South Marshfield in the Englewood neighborhood recording a video for Facebook when he was shot in the leg. Little was hospitalized in stable condition.

Little posted a Facebook message from his hospital bed saying, "This was no random shooting. Someone wanted me dead."

Community activist Jedidiah Brown has just parked his car to help campaign with 15th ward candidate Joseph Williams. There were about a dozen people around including Williams’ two young children.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Kid Rock pays off $81K worth of layaways at Nashville Walmart

Kid Rock is a patriot and a generous man.

A week ago this Sunday Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I ate and drank at his new Nashville club. We try to spend our money with fellow patriots.

From the Tennessean:
Kid Rock paid off the balances of 350 layaway accounts at a Walmart store in Nashville.

The musician gave the 3458 Dickerson Pike store about $81,000 to pay down all of the accounts, said Tom Meyer, the store's manager.

"Kudos to Kid Rock for making such a gesture in our community," Meyer said. "I think that's a pretty Nashville proud moment."
Kid Rock said on Twitter that he was following director Tyler Perry's lead. Perry posted a video on Twitter, saying he had paid off the layaway balances at two Georgia locations.

From Da Tech Guy: Illinois' dispirited bicentennial celebration ends

It's an unhappy 200th birthday for Illinois. I point out why at Da Tech Guy.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Johnny Cash with the Statler Brothers - Blue Christmas (Live)

Earlier this week I visited Nashville with Mrs. Marathon Pundit. And among our stops was the Johnny Cash Museum.

So of course I'm going to do post featuring the Man in Black--with the Statler Brothers--crooning "Blue Christmas."

(Photos) Andrew Jackson and Nashville

What Abraham Lincoln is to Illinois, what Harry S. Truman is to Missouri, Andrew Jackson is that man for Tennessee.

There is Old Hickory, the seventh US president, on horseback at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.

About twenty miles south Nashville is Franklin, which is best known for being the site of an 1864 Civil War battle, a major Confederate defeat.

In downtown Franklin there is an historical marker which reads, "On his return from New Orleans Andrew Jackson gave a brass cannon to Franklin. A part of his soldiery camped here on their way to New Orleans. Erected 1917. Placed by Col. Thos. Hart Benton Chapter U.S.D. of 1812."

The US Daughters of 1812 still exists.

The Battle of New Orleans was a stupendous victory over the British in 1815. While the peace treaty ending the war had been signed a month earlier in Europe and word hadn't reached the armies, technically the war was ongoing as neither Congress or the British Parliament had ratified it.

Okay, we're back in Nashville in front of the historic Ryman Auditorium, the place where the Grand Ole Opry became famous. Yes, that's Andy there, "Nashville's First Rockstar," carrying an electric guitar. The guitar isn't a stretch. In 1998 an F-3 tornado passed through the Hermitage, Jackson's plantation. While it missed the mansion and the family graveyard it knocked down 1,000 trees, some of which may have been planted by Old Hickory. Wood from some of those trees were used by Gibson build 200 officially sanctioned Old Hickory guitars.

Ten miles northwest of downtown Nashville lies the Hermitage. There is your Blogger Laureate of Illinois wearing a MAGA, that is, a Make America Great Again hat. On the sign Jackson is declared "the People's President." The 45th president is a big fan of the 7th--Trump has a painting of Old Hickory in the Oval Office. Last year on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Jackson's birth, Trump visited the Hermitage and laid a wreath at Jackson's grave, which is on the plantation's grounds.

Just as Jackson battled the entrenched interests in government, especially the federally-chartered Bank of the United States, Trump fights "the Swamp" in Washington and says he is looking out for ordinary Americans, the Deplorables, as Hillary Clinton labeled them. "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer," Trump said in his inaugural address.

That's the Hermitage from the rear.

The Hermitage is America's fourth most-visited presidential residence, after the White House, where of course Trump lives, Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's plantation.

The Hermitage is a non-profit run by the Andrew Jackson Foundation. For over 100 years the group was known as the Ladies' Hermitage Association. Among the Board of Trustees is Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. Meacham was one of the speakers at George H.W. Bush's funeral three days ago.

My next Jackson post will go into more detail about the Hermitage, and yes, slavery.

Friday, December 07, 2018

(Bloody Chicago Video) Chicago Police Capture Suspected Dan Ryan Expressway Killer

There is some rare good news this evening from Victor Maggio of Bloody Chicago.

"Four months later," Maggio says of the murder on Chicago's South Side, "the shooter is no longer at large."

Mark Dice: Christmas is Coming!

We are not one week into December and the War on Christmas is already intense. The stop-action 1960s classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is the first victim.

Union abuse shows why Illinois' constitutional pension guarantee needs to be amended

Late last month the majority Democrat Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the grifter and against struggling taxpayers like myself.

From a Chicago Tribune editorial:
Former Chicago labor boss Dennis Gannon worked almost 20 years for the Department of Streets and Sanitation before taking a leave of absence in 1991. He got a refund of his pension contributions and pivoted to the private sector, first at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and eventually as president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, an umbrella union organization.

But there was a blip on his resume. During his leave, the city rehired him for one day in 1994, then released him again to his union leadership job. Ten years later, he was able to retire at age 50 with a city pension based on his union salary of at least $240,000. He began receiving more than $150,000 a year from a $56,000 city job he had left a decade earlier.

It was an unintended consequence — many would say abuse — of the state’s pension code exposed in a 2011 Tribune/WGN-TV investigation that drew the attention of federal prosecutors. Government employees who left to work for their unions could count that time toward their pensions. But the practice of applying their private sector union salaries toward their pensionable income, instead of calculations based on what they earned as city workers, was not the intention of the pension code. Even labor-friendly Democrats in the legislature almost unanimously voted to tighten up the law following the journalists’ investigation. In 2012, legislators passed, and then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law, a strict prohibition on government workers applying union salaries toward final pension calculations.

Public pension funds are strained as it is. Why should private sector workers, just because they work for unions, be eligible for lofty pensions from a city and taxpayer-subsidized pension fund?
They shouldn't be. And besides, do you seriously believe that the CFL doesn't have its own pension plan?

The Chicago Tribune is calling for a constitutional amendment to deal with the pension guarantee clause in the state constitution. That's a great idea and a perfect Illinois Bicentennial gift to taxpayers.

Illinois is one of the few states losing population and Chicago is the only major American city with negative population growth.

Tax increases aren't working to fix the problem. In fact, they're driving people away and leaving a smaller pool of taxpayers to fix it.

Default is coming. Unless something is done soon.

Top advisor to Kamala Harris resigns after $400K harrasment suit becomes public

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is a real piece of work. It's alleged that as a result of her two-year affair with a married man thirty years older than her, California Assembly speaker Willie Brown, she was appointed to two well-paying but little-work state posts.

Harris, who is mulling a run for president, was one of the toughies who grilled Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation process over decades-old allegations of sexual assault.

But there was sexual harassment scandal that occurred right under her nose.

From NBC News:
A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., resigned on Wednesday after a report surfaced of a $400,000 harassment settlement resulting from his time working for Harris at the California Department of Justice in 2016.

Harris' office said in a statement to NBC News that it was unaware of the settlement.

Larry Wallace, a senior adviser to Harris, stepped down after The Sacramento Bee reported about the settlement on Wednesday.

The alleged incident occurred in 2016 when Wallace was working as the director of law enforcement under Harris, who was serving as the California attorney general at the time, the paper reported.
Do you seriously believe Harris had no knowledge of the settlement?
The suit alleges that on a daily basis Wallace asked his female assistant on a daily basis to replace paper or ink on the printer that was installed beneath his desk.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

The Monkees - Unwrap You At Christmas (Official Lyric Video)

Ah, this video brings back some memories. The Monkees have a new album, Christmas Party, and the lead track, "Unwrap You At Christmas," was written by Andy Partridge of XTC, a longtime favorite of this blog.

The video takes on a comic book theme for the Prefab Four, and it includes Julie Newmar, who played the first incarnation of the Catwoman in the 1960s Batman TV series. When I worked at the Congress Hotel in Chicago in the 1995 I was the convention service manager when we hosted a Batman convention. Newmar was bone thin whose face was apparently stretched too far after too many plastic surgeries. She was a prima donna, and some employees claimed, was also drunk the whole convention weekend. Adam West, who played the Caped Crusader, and Burt Ward, who played Robin, were there too. They were completely forgettable, unlike the organizers of the event, who, let's just say, had trouble finding their wallet.

On the upside Frank Gorshin, who played the Riddler opposite the small screen version of the Dynamic Duo, was a class act. But one of the organizers of the event kept telling me that Jim Carrey, who played the Riddler in the movie Batman Forever, which was about to be released, was on his way to meet Gorshin and commiserate on all things Riddler. I didn't swallow the bait. We got our money and I wasn't interested in spreading specious rumors to jumpstart flagging ticket sales.

And now over to the Monkees. Before my ten years at the Congress I worked a bit at the Bismarck Hotel a mile north. I was in a similar job when a Monkees convention came there in 1988. That get-together was unique for me as I was compelled to listen to a slew of complaints from attendees who called the event a ripoff as it mainly consisted of Monkees TV episodes being played on a video loop.

"Hmm," I replied, "you may want to voice your opinion to the man who is running this show. I just make sure the chairs are where there are supposed to be."

Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork appeared at the convention, but only together at the very end and they didn't perform as a group, unless you count 30 seconds of a capella singing as a concert. Michael Nesmith bypassed the shindig.

While it may seem creepy to have the late Davy Jones included in the video, there are two songs on Christmas Party where the Englishman sings lead. He belongs.

Merry Christmas. As for the song? It's a gem. Click below to purchase the album.