Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A bittersweet Minnie memory


It was September 22, 1959. This 14 year old Sox fanatic could barely breath watching the White Sox try to clinch their first pennant in 40 years, and bury the shame of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. With the Sox ahead 2-1 in the sixth, Al Smith, for whom the Sox traded Minoso to Cleveland before the '58 season, lofted a long fly to left. Minoso, drifted back and leaped at the wall to make an apparent catch. But the ball hit his glove and dropped into ...waiting bare hands for a home run and the clincher in the joyous 4-2 triumph. Minnie had played a literal hand in the Sox one and only pennant during his five decades in the Big Show. I recalled that game due to the tragic news of Minoso's passing, found dead in his car, returning from celebrating, appropriately enough, a friend's birthday. And every time I do, my mind's eye still sees Minnie, head down, talking to his glove, which unwittingly helped push his beloved Sox over the finish line.

GOP, placeholders, to ensure Netanyahu gets full house for divisive speech

    

House Speaker John Boehner gets a 'twofer' this morning. In the most villainous action he and his anti-Obama, pro war buddies have taken in their disreputable control of Congress, Boehner welcomes Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress without the protocol of presidential approval. It simultaneously undermines presidential authority in foreign affairs while working to sabotage the delicate administration negotiations to prevent war with Iran over their nuclear programs. It is such and unprecedented and reckless action that 53 congressmen, 10% of the entire Congress, will boycott Netanyahu's speech. That number is sure to swell by "kick off Obama" time takes place. But don't look for any empty seats if you tune in. Taking a cue from the Oscars, Speaker Boehner has supposedly arranged placeholders to fill the seats of the principled congressmen who still put America first when preserving presidential authority and preventing war.

One of those placeholders will hold the seat of Jan Schakowsky, the only Jewish American member of the Illinois delegation. If she was giving a speech she'd reprise what she said when announcing her boycott:

"As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA", but... "This is not the first time that the Republicans have tried to divide the Democrats and paint themselves as the only true supporters of Israel. The reality is that, when it comes to tangible deliverables, the Obama administration has been unfailing in its cooperation with Israel — more so than most, if not all, administrations over the last 40 years."

Monday, March 02, 2015

Kirk, Durbin, Roskam: Boycott Netanyahu speech


We should all urge our Illinois congressmen to boycott the Congressional speech tomorrow by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. Set up by GOP House Speaker John Boehner and the Israel First, America Second crowd in Congress, Netanyahu's not speaking to Congress in support of delicate, ongoing negotiations with Iran to defuse the most likely path to war presently in the world if they fail. He's here to champion American support... for Israel to rid themselves of a second hegemon in their neighborhood. He's been goading America to do this for a decade now, playing the Iran 'nuke card' even though Israel possesses a hundred of more not so secret nukes, and even though Israel refuses to join the nuclear non-proliferation community.

30 representatives and four senators have already declared their boycott. Let's help boost that total and show Netanyahu and Israel to bud out of sane, reasoned efforts to end this crisis peacefully. Here's how to contact your congressmen to express your disgust with this most pernicious assault on the best chance for peace in the Middle East, and the reprehensible undermining of the president's authority to conduct foreign affairs with bi-partisan support:

Senator Richard Durbin 202-224-2152 Undecided about attending
Senator Mark Kirk 312-886-3506 Plans to attend
6th District Congressman Peter Roskam 202-225-4561 Plans to attend

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Breuder's Banquet squanders tax dollars; hurts private restaurant owners

I wonder how many fine dining restaurant owners in Glen Ellyn can afford to lose a cool half mil a year and stay in business. I know of just one, the taxpayer owned Waterleaf Restaurant, a.k.a. Bueuder's Banquet, installed at College of DuPage by ego obsessed president Robert Breuder and a compliant Board. Waterleaf was the hot topic at the Dailey Herald's COD Board candidate forum. Candidate Chuck Bernste...in advised Waterleaf has lost $1.5 million since it opened in 2011, including half a million in 2013 and 2014. Two current Board members running for re-election, Kim Savage and Nancy Svoboda, see no problem here, since they and other Board members have asked numerous questions about Waterleaf the past four years. But questions don't count if we don't get answers. Savage said Waterleaf is providing a real-world learning experience for students, omitting that they already have a small boutique restaurant to learn in, and their measly two days a week to practice at Waterleaf is likely a sop to maintain the fiction it has educational value. Savage also claims Waterleaf helps bring attention to COD and generates foot traffic on campus.

But the attention that this money losing Edsel is bringing COD hurts it enormously. That foot traffic we taxpayers are subsidizing is better traveled to the private Glen Ellyn eateries suffering from an un-level serving table tilted in favor of a publically funded competitor. The fact that no high end restaurant starts out making a profit, according to Savage, was reason enough to never open it. Savage is confused when she states Waterleaf is "earning more annual revenue than its first year of operation." Revenue is not earnings; profits are. At Waterleaf, increased revenue simply means loss continues to escalate.
If money pit Waterleaf stays open, at least designate it 'Breuder's Banquet' to satisfy a retirement package pledge to name something on campus after him.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fibber's closet has nothing on Congressman Schock's - Part II


Monday, I posted on the continuing troubles of Peoria's conservative darling, Congressman Aaron Schock, comparing the avalanche of ethical troubles pouring down on him to radio legend Fibber McGee's hall closet. Tuesday, Schock, saying he was 'shocked, shocked', that people were questioning his character, hired top layers and PR people to close the door on the charges tumbling down on him. Wednesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a third ethics charge against Schock saying that available evidence "warrants a full investigation."

My beef with Schock is that his governance and lifestyle, voting against every sensible measure to improve the lives of the poor, the marginalized, the needy, while gaming the system to live like a jet set celebrity, debases our government and society. Being elected to the House at the tender age of 28 has noting to do with Schock's shocking governing style. It has to do with character. As far as being a decent congressman, Schock's character closet is empty.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Billionaire Bruce: Channel billionaire Mark


There is nothing wrong with being a billionaire governor. To be a good one you just need a heart, a soul and a good dose of governing wisdom. Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota has all three. Gaining office in January, 2011, Dayton, billionaire heir to the Target fortune, inherited a $6.2 billion budget deficit and 7% unemployment rate from his predecessor, extreme fiscal conservative Tom Pawlenty. By never raising taxes Pawlenty impoverished Minnesota, adding a Pawlenty paltry 800 jobs yearly over eight years. Enter Billionaire Mark. He raised state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly – a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He's raising Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 and hour, guaranteed equal pay for women, and created an online voter registration system to increase the voter rolls of the little people being helped by this extraordinary uplifting of the entire Minnesota populous. How uplifting? In his first term Dayton added 172,000 jobs, 166,000 more than Pawlenty created in two terms. While Minnesota has the 4th highest income tax rate of 50 states, it now has the 5th lowest unemployment rate at 3.6% and is the 5th fastest growing state economy. And that $6.2 billion dollar budget deficit is now a $1 billion surplus, with a third of that earmarked for improving public education.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, our billionaire governor gave all the folks already well off a big tax cut to be paid for by all the people in need. He's clearly using the wisdom he possesses that made him a billionaire manipulating struggling companies and tax codes to further enrich himself and his wealthy base. Knowing how frugal Billionaire Bruce is, maybe if enough of us chip in a few bucks apiece, we can buy him a one way ticket to Minnesota. He can't do much damage to a state near the finish line of an astounding economic recovery. And Billionaire Mark needs a new challenge.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fibber's closet has nothing on Congressman Schock's

The now, not so secret life of Peoria Congressman Aaron Shock reminds me of the old time radio hit, Fibber McGee and Molly. The husband wife team of Jim Jordan and Marian Driscoll were also from, amazingly, Peoria, IL They stared on radio and TV for 24 years from 1935 to 1959, with Fibber the self important denizen of Whistful Vista, and Molly as his down to earth, ego deflating wife. Their most famous running gag concerned Fibber's hall closet. He kept pilling up junk in the closet and every time he opened it the junk crashed down on him. It never failed to provoke gales of laughter.

Fibber's closet could be a metaphor for Congressman Schock's troubles as new allegations of impropriety, insensitivity and tone deafness tumble down on him daily to deflate the once rising GOP hunk whose vision does not include the 'little people'. It does include Downton Abbey décor for his office, gifted by his Peoria decorator pal's Euro Trash business. Schock's communications director was summarily fired after caught communicating stupid racial Facebook postings. Then, publicity hound Schock, prone to posting Instagram pics of his jet set travels, was outed by investigative sleuths who used those pics to tie Schock to unethical private plane flights by supporters. This newest ethics flap is on top of a previous one involving dubious campaign fund solicitations.
  
After Fibber's close encounter with Closet Trash, he'd mutter, "Straighten out that closet one of these days." Methinks that day has passed for fibber Aaron.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rudy, leave America and never come back

“I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
- Rudy Giuliani, speaking at a private NY dinner -- featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and a group of 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types.
...
Every decent American should condemn Giuliani's despicable, hateful and incendiary comments that are almost a call to violence to the more unstable haters in America. The media should shun Giuliani like they would the Ebola virus. He should be picketed and booed wherever he deigns to appear. Better yet, we should all encourage him to emigrate to a country which relishes such disgusting poison being spread in the public discussion. The president has more love in his little finger than Rudy Giuliani has in his entire being.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Breuder saga at College of DuPage mandates presidential contract controls‏

     
The extensions given to current COD president Robert Breuder which pushed his lavish contact out to June 30, 2019, are a disgrace. They set the stage for the costly and long running soap opera that will plague the COD community for another 13 months and beyond, depending on possible new revelations of his seemingly bottomless mis-management.  He appears to lack any sense of civic duty to do the right thing and leave today with the near fortune in goodies already lavished on him by an irresponsible Board.

The next president should be hired for a two year term that cannot be renewed or extended till the final 3 months and only after strong input to the Board from the faculty, the students and the community. And don't worry about scaring off good potential candidates. There must be oodles of great educators who would vie for the opportunity to restore COD to an educational institution which truly values its students, faculty, and mission to educate, rather than serve as its president's Hearst Castle.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bush III laments good ol' days of criminal war

Jeb Bush is seeking to be the third Bush family member to ascend the Presidency. While he claims he's his own man when it comes to foreign policy, he's hired 19 former advisers to his brother and father's administrations. He sighs when blaming the current Middle East civil war on President Obama for not continuing brother George's criminal war. Jeb says he's "lucky to have had family members who shaped American foreign policy from the White House." Relatives of the hundreds of thousands killed, and millions injured or displaced in that criminal venture most certainly disagree.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Roskam to 6th District: Highway infrastructure logjam not my problem


Apparently, my congressman Peter Roskam (IL 6) doesn't do significant infrastructure investment. He was the only one of Illinois' 18 congressman who wouldn't sign a bi-partisan letter to US House leadership requesting Congress end the decade long delay in a long term highway and transportation infrastructure projects that will employ hundreds of thousands while re-building our crumbling infrastructure. As a 42 year veteran of the transportation industry, I can attest how vital, vibrant infrastructure is to our economic well being. Co-sponsors of the letter, Democrat Dan Lipinski (IL 3) and Republican Reid Ribble (WI 8) as well as 298 other House members of both parties get it. Here's what the letter said in part:

"We are troubled by the significant uncertainty that has plagued federal highway and transit policy in recent years. In the last decade, there have been nine short-term extensions of highway and transit programs. This kind of uncertainty impedes economic growth and makes it difficult for our country to fulfill its competitive potential. The ninth extension is due to expire May 31. Now is the time to end the cycle of short-term extensions that kick the can down the road. We support efforts to develop a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation's transportation network as soon as possible."

Least you think Congressman Roskam is not interested in infrastructure, consider his fevered support of the XL Keystone Pipeline. XL will speed transportation of the world's most toxic oil through and around our vital heartland aquifers. Of course, Roskam knows XL will never get through a principled presidential veto. But while bridges and roads crumble around him, he'll have a principled talking point for his next re-election campaign.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mueller death shouldn't sanctify senseless war

The civil war in the Middle East is rapidly redrawing the artificial boundaries established by the WW I victors to grab the Arab oil jackpot. Iraq and Syria, like Humpty Dumpty, have been shattered, and cannot be put back together again.  But it's not our fight even though we've already killed thousands in thousands of air strikes. Now, US war promoters are exploiting the tragic death of Kayla Mueller to sanction our newest Middle East senseless slaughter with congressional passage of an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). To paraphrase writer Gertrude Stein: 'A senseless war is a senseless war...is a senseless war.'

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Rauner leaves em laughing at State of State Address

Funniest line from Gov. Bruce Rauner's State of the State address:

"Our economic growth and jobs package increases the minimum wage to $10 an hour over the next 7 years."

All those working mom's living in poverty flippin' Bruce's burgers when he stops in their workplace for a snack, can sure take heart. That paltry $8.25 their makin' now will crack the $10.00 / hr. bracket....in 2022.

Nice goin', Billionaire Bruce.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bad play; Quinnbowski exits stage left; Raunerfeller enters extreme stage right


It's only been 18 days but I sorely miss The Mighty Quinn. Since the Koch Brothers' dream candidate, Bruce Rauner, took the oath of office as Illinois' 42nd governor, we've experienced his 36% increase in administrative staff salaries, a new six figure administrator to keep wife Diana happy, hiring a Chief Financial Officer notorious for cutting Red State budgets hurting the needy, and telling fut...ure 1% er's at the University of Chicago Business School that Illinois' financial woes are all due to labor unions, state employees and Medicaid recipients. Rauner revels in the drastic flat tax cut that will mainly make his rich backers richer, promotes a sales tax increase that hurts the poor, and disdains a progressive income tax that could really alleviate Illinois' financial mess. Most disgusting of all is the $20 million slush fund he scarfed up since his election to bypass the media and legislature to promote his discredited austerity policies on the same gullible Illinoisans who elected him. Another Illinoisan, Abe Lincoln, said "You can't fool all of the people all of the time." The Rauner corollary is "With enough billionaire wealth, you can fool enough of the people enough of time." If Rauner's fraudulent play on Illinois citizens was on Broadway, it would already have closed. Hold onto your loved ones, folks. We've still got 1,442 days to go.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Backhanded complement of the year

Only 22 days into the new year and the Backhanded Complement of the Year award for 2015 goes to Robert L. Breuder, President of College of DuPage. Breuder received this backhanded complement from the College of DuPage Board of Trustees in their contract addendum specifying the terms of Dr. Breuder's early separation of his employment contract which runs through June, 2019:

"The Board will install a sign on the Homeland Security Education Center naming the building in Dr. Breuder's honor SUBJECT TO THE PRESIDENT MAINTAINING CONDUCT THAT IS NOT MATERIALLY DETRIMENTAL TO THE REPUTATION OF THE BOARD AND/OR THE COLLEGE."
Besides being about as backhanded a complement as could be delivered, the Board's action for protecting the College's and their reputation is a little like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Breuder failed to leave on a high note

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder must have missed Seinfeld episode No. 172, 'The Burning' aired March 18, 1998. The story revolved around one of life's great lessons: leaving a situation on a 'high note'. Jerry counsels George, depressed after he told a bad joke following a good suggestion at a business meeting, that a nightclub comic always saves his best joke for last; then leaves the stage with the audience laughing.

Dr. Breuder stayed one year too long at College of DuPage following 33 years at three community colleges in Pennsylvania and Illinois. In his last year several major scandals erupted on Breuder's watch involving exorbitant spending by Breuder and his Board on extravagant facilities, Board members and on Breuder himself. At last night's Board meeting to approve his severance package worth over $750,000, 400 local residents showed up to protest Breuder's package and condemn his betrayal of students, faculty and taxpayers during his six year tenure. Sixty citizens, including two state representatives, spoke during the public comment section, and every one blasted Breuder and the Board; not a word was uttered on Breuder's behalf. Commenters demanded he not stay another day at COD, not have the Homeland Security Education Center bear his name, and not participate in the search for a successor, least he pick someone with his character.

Given a microphone Dr. Breuder can speak endlessly about his accomplishments at COD. But last night he spoke not a word, the audience wasn't laughing, and when he left the stage he had to look up to look down.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kirk website a big commercial for the war party

My Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is a danger to Illinois and the nation. Just check out his Senate website www.kirk.senate.gov. There are 14 story links on the home page. Five of them tout his leading effort along with Senator Bob Menendez (D. NJ) to scuttle the delicate IS-Iran negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. Most sensible leaders and pundits are aghast at Kirk & Company's dangerous machinations which are the surest road to war with Iran, something to which Kirk appears oblivious. He has supported every US intervention in the Middle East that have cost trillions in dollars and hundreds of thousands in human beings. Instead of expressing regret for this horrific loss of blood and treasure, Kirk is obsessed in sabotaging our best chance for peace with Iran.

Illinois and America need senators who will put peaceful American interests ahead of the war party. We don't have that in Senator Mark Kirk. He should retire next year instead of running for re-election. If he doesn't we should fire him on Nov 1, 2016. He can always get a job shilling for the war party. But it at least there he can no longer vote for more war, more squandered treasure, and more bloodshed.

Breuder could use an Elvis announcement


In his Trib letter today, lamenting likely reduction in state funding to colleges while touting College of DuPage's massive building campaign and huge surplus, COD President Robert Breuder made this astounding statement:

"With state funding dwindling and caps on our ability to raise taxes, community colleges, like our four-year counterparts, have consistently raised tuition. But College of DuPage reduced tuition this spring for the first time in our history".

That is utter sophism, the use of false arguments to deceive people. Dr. Breuder has been, for his entire six year tenure at COD, a champion tuition increaser. Just last Spring he proposed a huge $6 per hour increase, which was mercifully reduced by the COD Board to $4, still outrageous with COD's massive surplus. Then when Breuder's disgraceful email surfaced showing his cynical ploy to extract $20 million from the state with no approved project booked, he road into the next Board meeting on a white horse, trumpeting a $2 tuition decrease. But he spent a full 10 minutes droning on how his magnanimous action could put the College at risk if the economy sours. The Board wisely doubled his belated initiative to aid students into a $4 reduction, thus wiping out Breuder's entire $6 tuition proposal from just 6 months earlier.

Dr. Breuder is leaving COD early, but not early enough. Today would be a great day for the Board to announce that Dr. Robert L. Breuder has "left the building...for the last time."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama bombs ISIS beheaders; mourns with Saudi beheaders

The other day Saudi gendarmes chased down a lady wanted for murder and chopped her head off in front of mob of cheering locals. She was the tenth head separated from its body and tossed in the Saudi Arabian trash this month, in likely the beheading capital of the planet. Yet while President Obama's war machine is busy bombing suspected ISIS beheaders, he's getting ready to mourn with the Saudi nation over the death of their leader King Abdullah. There is no truth to the rumor that the Saudi's will invite Obama to witness the next Saudi beheading, number 11 in January if your counting heads.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia no like free thinking blogger


As a blogger who sometimes defends atheists, of which I'm one, and ridicules religious figures when they deserve it, I'm sure glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia. Just ask Raef Badawi, who was recently sentenced to 1,000 lashes for doing just that in the land of the House of Saud. Least you think this sentence extreme, consider that the lashers will humanely dole out the 1,000 over 20 weeks at only 50 per. All things considered, America still a pretty good place to blog in.

New name for venerable news show


On Face The Nation yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R. AZ) was trotted out for hundredth or more time to trash the relatively sane foreign policy of President Obama and call for more war against Iran and Russia. 'Get more boots on the ground to stop Iran', bellowed McCain, 'and start giving arms to our warmongering buddies in Ukraine to stop Russia.' War party stooge, host Bob Schieffer, who feigned incredulity at the president's cautious foreign ...policy explained by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, brought out McCain with verbal guns blazing. If Schieffer was honest he would have asked McCain why he hooked up with fellow warmongers Carl Gershman, head of the National Endowment for Democracy, and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in the fall of 2013, to foment an illegal and immoral coup in Ukraine which started all the bloodshed that has now killed thousands and has whetted McCain's appetite for much, much more.

Face The Nation, which just celebrated it's 60th anniversary, needs a new name. Next time, McCain appears, here is how they should introduce him:

"Today, Sen. John McCain, calling for more needless deaths of innocents around the world, will Face The Warmongering Nation."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Banks gone...but Minnie still promoting baseball, Sox

                
The death of Cub great Ernie Banks, first black to play for the Cubs, reminds me that Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta, known simply as Minnie Minoso, the first White Sox black to play, is not only still alive at 89 (or maybe 91) but still working for the Sox. Minoso had this to say about Banks' death: "The city belonged to him. "Everywhere you move, they don't just talk about him like a ballplayer. They talk about him like a person." That's Minnie, still connected to the Sox nearly 64 years after his debut on the South Side, hitting a center field homer on the first pitch of his first at bat, May 1, 1951. That, and an early season 14 game winning streak is what made me a Sox fan at age 6. Banks was more fortunate than Minnie, breaking the Cubs' color barrier two and a half years later at just 22. That gave him a full 19 years to pile up stats that got him a first ballot entry into the Hall of Fame. Minnie was 26 (or possibly 28) in his first full Sox season but he still was one of the best left fielders, hitters and base runners of his era for 15 years, 12 with the Sox.
Minnie is still swinging for the Hall fences, and striking out due to forces beyond his control.

If you attend Sox opening day you may see two Minnies; the statute erected in 2004 and the flesh and blood Minnie, the best goodwill ambassador a club could have. Come on Hall voters, put Minnie up their where he belongs  with his north side soul brother "Lets play two" Ernie.
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

GOP effort to recruit women legislators backfires

Oh, the slings and arrows of being the majority. Yesterday, all the fine ladies the GOP recruited to demonstrate the GOP is not at war with women went to war against House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow House misogynists. House GOP gals Jackie Walorski (IN) and Kristi Noem (SD) said 'NYET' to Boehner passing the GOP's signature anti-abortion legislation prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The bill did provide a bit of wiggle room for women impregnated by their rapist, but only if they promptly reported their rape to police. Waloski and Noem, unlike the anti-female Boehner Boys, understand that roughly two-thirds of such rapes are not reported, meaning roughly two-thirds of such unwanted pregnancies would be required to come to term, inflicting endless trauma on already traumatized rape victims. This utter waste of lawmakers time was moot from the start. Any passage of legislation limiting women's reproductive health has virtually no chance of Senate passage or surviving a wise presidential veto.

Speaker Boehner must rue the day he signed on to bringing those pesky ladies into the legislative process. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Boehner invite to Netanyahu reckless; traitorous

In an extraordinary snub of presidential protocol, GOP House Speaker John Boehner played Chief Executive, inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress February 11. The invite is designed to undermine President Obama's efforts to secure a nuclear agreement with Iran in which US will trade ending sanctions for a verified end to Iran's real or imagined atomic weapons aspirations. Boehner, doing the GOP neocon and warmongers' dirty work, seeks to both embarrass the President and generate a veto proof congressional majority should Obama veto their Iran deal sabotage of new sanctions even as delicate negotiations are nearing fruition. Boehner, his neocon buddies, including the munitions makers making billions peddling their wares to Israel and any nation paying the price, want no US-Iran deal. Nether does Netanyahu and his Likud Party. They want Iran crushed so Israel stands alone as the only Middle East hegemon. That is their agenda, not ours. We shouldn't enable it. The US war party, not having their bloodlust quenched after two failed Middle East wars, thinks nothing of the risk they put us sane and scared citizens through. At his State of the Union speech, Obama briefly touched on this momentous, indeed, cataclysmic issue, saying a negotiated deal would secure “America and our allies — including Israel, while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.” Boehner should eyeball his paystub: it's signed by Uncle Sam; not 'Crush Iran Ben'.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Comprehension continues to elude Congressman Roskam


"Unfortunately, the speech we heard tonight reflects a president whose focus is squarely on a political legacy and not on the common-sense policies that will strengthen families, grow our economy, and build on the common ground we all have as Americans. Our country deserves so much better." - IL 6th District Congressman Peter Roskam, commenting on yesterday's State of the Union speech

The residents of the 6th District have the following questions for Congressman Roskam:
What part of 58 straight months of private sector job growth don't you comprehend?

What part of a two thirds cut in federal deficit don't you comprehend?
What part of a stock market doubling in value don't you comprehend?
What part of 10% unemployment falling under 6% don't you comprehend?
What part of a near halving of gasoline prices don't you comprehend?
What part of ten million folks getting their first health insurance don't you comprehend?
What part of the first major reduction in escalating health care costs don't you comprehend?
What part of 70% of America's gay families living under marriage equality don't you comprehend?

After two criminal wars and the most calamitous economic collapse since 1929, America finally got what it deserved. Sadly, the Illinois 6th is still waiting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Roskam actually protecting Obamacare haters

My congressman Peter Roskam's constituent email titled 'Protecting our firefighters' would be better titled 'Protecting our Obamacare haters'. It is a typical Roskam non-story furthering his six year crusade to defeat, overturn, defund and now, finally, demonize the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This successful, indeed, transformational law is assisting tens of millions avoid bankruptcy, diminished health, even death. But in Roskam's warped world of governance, he feels compelled to give his anti-government Illinois 6th District base more anti-government red meat hate; and he never disappoints.

Some background. The ACA mandates organizations employing 50 or more full time people provide employer health insurance or face penalties. They must include anyone working 30 or more hours weekly as full time employees. These provisions are designed to keep employers from 'gaming the system' by dropping 40 hour per week employees to 30 hours in order to avoid ACA compliance. That is good. But since many fire department volunteer firefighters are already otherwise covered for healthcare, the IRS has wisely issued a rule exempting them from the 30 hour rule. But the GOP House Republicans, citing their endless fear of government, proposed a law in the last Congress and now this one, to codify that rule into law. It's strictly window dressing. There is no debate or issue involved. The current version, H.R. 33, passed 410 to 0. This is the basis for Roskam's inflammatory email. But since it's just window dressing, the Senate last year said "Fine, we'll pass it if you extend unemployment insurance extension to the two million long term unemployed." The House GOP said "No way", resulting in an unneeded bill having no chance of becoming law. But a typical Roskam 'low information' supporter simply reads Roskam's email as a principled attack on the ACA which he endlessly trumpets as horrible, big government overreach.

Those millions of folks being helped, even saved by the ACA, would be sacrificed in a heartbeat if Peter Roskam had the power to do so. That is not good governance. That is reprehensible.
 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good Pope, Bad Pope Francis really bad in Philippines


Pope Francis has become a cult hero worldwide with his calls to alleviate poverty, shrink income disparity between the 'have much' and 'have little', and shame the greedy rich to grow up. That is why it is so painful to hear the Pope pandering to the world's dead end homophobes during his visit to the Philippines. His harmful comments bear repeating:

"The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some ...to redefine the very institution of marriage." He warned that Philippine society was "tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family. As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture." He called gay marriage "ideological colonization that threatens the family." A week before his visit he lamented to Vatican diplomats about "legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole." He claims gay marriage has " contributed to a widespread sense of the family as disposable."

Pope Francis is the coolest dude around when it comes to greed and poverty. But when he tries to play Ann Landers or Dear Abby with the human family, he'd be better served disposing of his prejudices by getting some serious counseling about human relationships and personal freedom.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Can't chop off Joe's head; already gone

When Tea Party Republican and emotionally unbalanced congressman (IL 8th) Joe Walsh lost his re-election bid to Tammy Duckworth in 2012, I thought we were done with him. Sadly, he landed a gig on local right wing radio where he's been spewing his hateful venom for several years now. This week he again made national headlines over his rhetorical lunacy when he called for the beheading by terrorists of CNN and MSNBC correspondents who refused to display scatological cartoons of Charlie Hebdo on their shows. Walsh is one person who never has to worry about being beheaded. He lost his years ago.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sanguinetti auditioning for title role in 'The Invisible Woman'?


Back in July, I posted on the disappearing act of candidate Bruce Rauner's pick for Lt. Governor, Wheaton's very own, Evelyn Sanguinetti:
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Novice candidate for high office, Evelyn Sanguinetti, Republican Bruce Rauner's running mate for Lt. Governor, has a lot to learn about politics. In an interview for Hola America TV, Sanguinet...ti said she'd be Rauner's partner "and whenever he's not, I will be able to make decisions in his stead." The only problem with that statement is the Lt. Governor has no gubernatorial decision making powers. Then, Sanguinetti's Facebook profile page suddenly disappeared. One reason may be that Sanguinetti "liked" the movie '2016: Obama's America," a scorched earth irrational attack on President Obama. She also "liked" the page 'I will NOT vote for Obama in 2012' containing childish, gratuitously insulting posts about the president. Sanguinetti may already have worn out her welcome with the Rauner campaign which likely encouraged her to get off Facebook and gave her a crash course on the duties of the Lt. Governor. No such controversy surrounds Paul Vallas, Governor Quinn's running mate who has a long, distinguished and scandal free record of public service. We know Paul Vallas, and it's apparent that Evelyn Sanguinetti is no Paul Vallas.
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Turns out Sanguinetti never surfaced in the following 6 months. Here's what Daily Herald op ed writer Jim Slusher had to say this morning about Sanguinetti's disappearing act:

"At an inauguration event at the Old State Capitol Monday, Sanguinetti said she is not yet answering reporters' questions but will 'very soon'."
Slusher laments that Sanguinetti's reticence in discussing her being a heartbeat, or felony conviction away from the governorship, both troublesome and worrisome. He's also frets about the apparent fierce control that Rauner has shown throughout the campaign and now into his governorship.
He shouldn't worry. The fuss over Sanguinetti's disappearing act is simply Rauner's attempt at a core campaign theme: transparency. Apparently, in the case of Sanguinetti, it's invisibility.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

McCain writes himself wrong epitaph

One of the more distressing, even catastrophic results of the GOP Senate takeover is the elevation of Sen. John McCain to chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. As overseer of the American military and the nation’s defense policy, McCain will have the ultimate Senate role in promoting a more bellicose foreign policy. And McCain loves bellicose and murderous military incursions, whether bombing innocents to smithereens from 35,000 feet, as he did in Vietnam in the 1960's, to cheerleading our failed and criminal Iraq war in 2003, that slaughtered hundreds of thousands including 4,489 GI's that he claims to revere. Friends don't let friends die in senselessÿ war.

Tragically, McCain never learned from his murderous mistakes. He loved the smell of death in Vietnam and never broke with the dead enders who consider it a noble war. He not only championed the Iraq war throughout, he calls it a victory, in part because he promoted the phony 'surge' which was nothing but a publicity stunt to prevent an American rout instead of the failed stalemate it became. That surge sentenced thousands more to needless death.  After Iraq, McCain has careened from one idiotic and murderous military incursion to another. He supported the bombing of Gadhafi's Libya, which killed thousands and turned that forlorn land into a failed state. He absolutely lusted to bomb Syria's Assad; then went ballistic when President Obama sensibly demurred. In a truly disgusting, even traitorous move, he sallied forth to Ukraine to foment illegal, immoral civil war against the elected government. He plans to use his new criminal war bully pulpit to demand sending arms the coup leaders' new government. He's demanding more troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to counter the Islamic State gains there he is, in part, personally responsible for creating.

McCain is considered by millions of know-nothings as a patriotic hero. He glories in their adoration. At 78, and keenly aware of his approaching mortality, he's even written his own epitaph: "He served his country". In typical McCain fashion he's wrong again. More appropriate would be: "Don't mourn boys; bomb".

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roskam to scientists: Don't advise Science Advisory Board


When visiting Illinois 6th District schools, my congressman Peter Roskam loves to inspire impressionable students to serve government and society with their youth and idealism. You can do anything you want with the right spirit and motivation, he opines. What Roskam doesn't tell them is that if they want to combat global warming, which he adheres to the GOP playbook that it's a hoax, they better not study science. That's because Roskam voted with 224 other Republican House members to pass HR 1422, The EPA Science Advisory Reform Act of 2014. The SAB advises the EPA on environmental issues from a scientific standpoint. Least you think the 'reform' portion of the bill will strengthen the SAB and improve efforts to save the planet, think again.

HR 1422 should be retitled The EPA Science Advisory Board Emasculation Act of 2014. It REDUCES the influence of scientists while INCREASING the influence of fossil fuel company employees in advising the EPA. Yet the Board's only reason for existing is dissemination of science, not fossil fuel industry lobbying for less regulation of the industry destroying our planet for short term wealth. This disgraceful bit of anti environmentalism is underwritten and championed by the guys with the money to buy congressman to do their dirty work.

House Democrats got it mostly right: 190 of 194 voted for science and trying to keep Mother Earth alive a bit longer. The House GOP assault on science has no chance of becoming law with a president committed to environmental sanity. But all Illinois Sixth District school administrators should take note. Congressman Peter Roskam has no place defiling your sacred places of learning drumming up future votes based on false claims he's truly interested on making the world better for their generation

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rauner begins trek up Brownback Mountain to Illinois fiscal cliff

When billionaire Bruce Rauner decided to buy the Illinois governorship last February, he looked westward for inspiration. Sadly, for Illinois, he didn't look far enough.

Rauner's gaze beheld Brownback Mountain, a.k.a. Kansas, governed by Sam Brownback, the most fiscally irresponsible governor in America. In 2012, to ensure his re-election two years hence, Brownback cut taxes on small businesses and partnerships, to zero. That's right, not one red state cent. "Tax revenue will actually rise", cried Brownback. That reminds me of the parable where Jesus used a couple of fishes and loaves of bread to feed the multitude. Two years on Kansas is broke and in violation of its balanced budget law. Brownback's solution? Borrow money from public employee pension funds. If that don't work, take more from health and environment, at a time when a Kansas court chided Brownback for already underfunding K through 12 education.

Rauner's Illinois version of Brownback Mountain consisted of eyeing the $6 billion Illinois budget shortfall and promising cutting personal and corporate taxes by a total of $6 billion. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it. And further channeling his new mentor on Brownback Mountain, or maybe it was Jesus, Rauner promised to increase funding for education and other critical services.

Today, when Bruce Rauner ascends to the Illinois governorship, he should rue the day he stopped his westward gaze at Brownback Mountain. He should have extended his vision to California where another Governor Brown, as in Jerry, closed a $25 billion budget deficit in 2010, with sensible spending cuts and tax increases.

Fasten your seat belts, Illinoisans. We may be seeing a replay of Brownback Mountain turning into Brokeback Mountain.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hell patrolled by Fearsome Phyllis

One version of Hell, possibly worse than eternal fire, would consist of endless bombardment of commentary from self loathing woman Phyllis Schlafly. The nonagenarian ultra conservative gadfly, famously associated with opposing the Equal Rights Amendment, preferring instead keeping her sex barefoot and pregnant, weighed in on the issue of campus sexual assault. Her fix: reduce the number of women in college. Too much temptation for the dwindling minority of oversexed males attending class with more opportunities than their youthful libidos can comprehend. Schlafly, highly educated in the era of male domination, laments that male percentage of college students has dropped from 70% in her day to under 50% today. Schlafly wants quotas on women enrollees or end of loans for tuition. She claims if we force women to work throughout college to pay the fare, they won't have time to attend those lascivious fraternity parties. 
 
While I don't know which elevator ride I'm taking on Judgment Day, If I get on the wrong one I'll start praying it won't be presided over by Fearsome Phyllis.

Friday, January 09, 2015

'Getting people killed' irony lost on warmonger Graham

   

Sen. Lindsay Graham (Rep. SC) leaped to the pinnacle of neocon fear and warmongering in the Senate with his linking of President Obama to any anti West attacks such as the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. Charging Obama is "getting people killed" by not declaring we are in a "religious war" with Islam, pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and working to close the US gulag in Guantanamo, Graham is oblivious of this ghoulish irony. It's Graham, with his fevered support of every senseless and lost US Middle East war that is getting people killed, in a multiple of many thousands of the 12 killed in Paris. In Graham's twisted world view, Obama is taking these actions simply to fulfill a campaign promises rather than to protect America by reducing America's self destructive and murderous incursions in the Muslim world. Graham shamelessly travels to Israel to promote Israel's foreign policy, including periodic 'mowing the lawn' atrocities in Gaza, over the interests of the United States. Graham's delusional plan to prevent future Charlie Hebdo massacres is more billions for our already obscene military spending and embarking on a killing spree of suspected bad guys, including more outright war.
 
If Sen. Graham wants to better protect America and further the cause of peace, he should resign from the Senate...today.