Saturday, February 28, 2004

Daily Herald: Paper show Hull threats, profanity

And this guy is one of the front-runners in the Democratic primary? Yeesh.

I also love how the writer tries to show Blair Hull as a fighter for women's rights at the end of the article. He sends money to people fighting to keep Title IX (according to the paper it ensures "equality for women in sports") which just winds up destroying men's wrestling teams, football teams and other sports that women don't play. He also sends money to abortion-rights groups, thus ensuring that unborn children never get a chance to use their fullest potential to become a benefit to society.

This is someone that people actually want as a United States Senator? Please.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

SJ-R.COM - Must it be marriage?

Hang on, I'm going to rant and go all over the place on this one. Subjects will stop, start, and stop again based purely on my whim. I will not adhere to my ideal standard of "one talking point per paragraph or two." I'm just going to jump from place to place.

Even in Springfield, gay marriage is a subject that needs to be addressed. While I want to see gays get full rights and recognition in civil marriages, I'm still against all this civil-disobedience garbage that they're pushing in San Francisco. If folks did it just to piss off the President and the Republican Party, I hope the folks who entred into marriages for that reason have their feelings hurt when those marriages are recognized as invalid. For those who married for love, cool. While I'm at it, someone please smack Rosie O'Donnell just on general principle. All these people to ask about gay marriage, and you had to ask HER about it? Ye gods, find someone who will be a little less militant for the camera, why don't you?

The only problem I see with "civil unions" is that it differentiates between gay and straight couples. It's a lot like opposite-sex domestic partnerships: what's the bloody point? You want to pay more on your taxes just because you don't want to be married, but you still want to legally have sex with your partner? Jeez, just get married and be done with it.

While I'm at it, "civil union" just sounds so bureaucratic and undesirable. "Marriage" is a word that should be reserved for people who want that lifelong trip and will work out their married-life issues without resorting to violence, neglect and ignoring the other. "Civil union" sounds like you wound up in a bad part of the European Parliament.

It's like this: "We got married!" "Awesome! Congratulations!"

Versus this: "We entered into a civil union." "Oh. Were you taxed upon arrival? That's how they do it in that part of Maastricht, you know."

See? Another reason for gay marriage. Gays won't sound like they went through some kind of messed-up European bureaucratic taxtation procedure.

This brings me to the Federal Marriage Amendment. This is President Bush being a father to the country and saying "If I hear you kids playing up there when you should be sleeping, I'm coing right up those stairs! Then you'll be in for it!" Guess what? Thanks to a bunch of Bush-haters jumping the gun and a moron with the last name of Newsom trying be BOLD and BRASH and "Oh, Republicans would NEVER do this! Thus, I'm morally superior!" now the homosexual community is going to get grounded. Thanks a lot, guys. Now the best that the homosexual community can hope for is civil unions if this amendment passes. If you'd have gone through your state legislatures in the first place, this wouldn't have happened. Now look what's coming down the pike. Get your crash helmets, kids, and brace for impact.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Monday, February 23, 2004

Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4075

So far, so good. They changed the wording just a bit as you can see with House Amendment 1, but it looks to be more of a clarification than anything else. I hope this will eventually convince cities with home rule status to remove their handgun bans, but that will have to be a city-by-city campaign. This does give homeowners a way to avoid fines when defending their homes, but it should also be changed to prevent local police authorities from confiscating weapons in cases like that of Hale DeMar. It doesn't look like it's going to die in committee, either. Now, let's see if Ol' Blaggie will have the guts to sign the bill once it passes.
CommentThis! is back up. Rejoice, and make with the small talk!
Hey kids.

CommentThis! is down, so comment ability has been removed for the moment. If you need to speak to me, just check for the email address on the side.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

SJ-R.COM - 'STRENGTH IN NUMBERS'

What a load of pure garbage.

Black groups in Springfield are once again attacking the city police department over supposed discrimination against seven black police officers. They claim that the police department fired these officers improperly, thus violating their civil rights. They were fired for not doing their jobs to the standards required by all the other officers, Renatta Frazier's case notwithstanding. That's another matter entirely, and Ms. Frazier is still working through the system to be exonerated of her charges. And once again, the protests go on to demand more hiring of minorities on the Springfield police department. The police and fire departments have been reaching out to the black community to hire more police officers and firefighters, but the black community hasn't been reaching back except to slap the city government away or to attack it for not doing enough. What really angers me is this exchange at one of the rabble-rousing meetings:
One person in the audience asked if the climate toward minority officers was better since Police Chief Don Kliment replaced former Chief John Harris.

"Under this administration, and I never thought I'd say this, it's worse," said attorney Courtney Cox, who is representing Frazier and the other six officers.
Mr. Cox has defamed a man I've known for over twenty years, a man who has done his very best to return the Springfield Police Department to its image as protectors of the entire city. Don Kliment is a police chief whose type the city has needed for the past eight or so years, instead of the chief that former Mayor Karen Hasara found in John Harris. Harris would just roll over and ask for forgiveness any time someone felt they were wronged by the police depaertment, no questions asked. Chief Kliment will perform an internal investigation, but the accuser is going to have bring the evidence they have of wrongdoing. In short, Chief Kliment is going to make the accusers substantiate their claims, and reconcile it with an internal investigation. I think the so-called black leadership in Springfield is angry that they don't have a lapdog like John Harris and a pliable mayor like Karen Hasara anymore. Courtney Cox is stirring up his own brand of garbage to line his wallet and spew empty platitudes of support to Springfield's black community. If Don Kliment is a racist, do-nothing police chief, then Springfield attorney Courtney Cox is nothing less than a race hustler.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Chicago Tribune | Two Passengers Removed From Diverted Plane

Zubiar Ghias, you got some 'splainin' to do.

The latest I'd heard on WLS says that this might be part of an ongoing domestic dispute between Mr. Ghias and his wife. I still want to know what he needed drywall, tape and glue for. It sounded to me like he was gathering a few basic parts for a bomb body. Why drywall, you ask? Maye it's easier to conceal in a drywall-constructed box or something. I don't know. You just don't go to New York for home remodeling supplies like those when you live in Chicago.

So yeah, Mr. Ghias better start talking and quickly. The Feds might be nicer to him that way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

POE News: Rumsfeld Fighting Technique

This is bloody hilarious, folks. Donald Rumsfeld, one of those people who loves to talk with his hands, has been captured in what could possibly be a new style of kung fu.

Thanks to Instapundit for bringing this to our attention.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

SIU students standing by their 'Munchie Man'

As a Saluki who rarely noticed this guy until my last few months in Carbondale, I don't have any kind of heartfelt feelings about this snack truck. And like the stoners-in-chief -- oops-- student government says, it's probably a plot by The Man to keep them down. This is where my love of tradition and need for propriety mix. Love of tradition? The snack truck has been there for 30-plus years. I never went to it, but the stoners, drunks and other assorted collegiate riffraff liked the guy. I don't buy the safety concerns since nobody drives around the east end of campus looking for a parking spot at night. You'll get ticketed or towed. Plus there are two good-sized parking lots within easy walking distance of the dorms, so it's not a traffic concern. Even on the west side of the campus, the parking is set away from the dorms. The guy isn't taking away from campus business any more than the stores on Main Street are, so the business angle isn't the reason. I don't think the safety reasons are there either. Not only that, why would you go to a snack truck when you can just stock up at the late-night food service on the east side of campus? Grinnell Hall had all the snacks and meals you could want until about 10pm. It was taken right off of your meal plan, so the only people who would go to a snack truck would have to have used all of their meal points. No one realizes how tough it is to do that at SIU. Even when I was on one of the reduced meal plans, it was still tough. Having on-campus restaturants, late-night meal options, a pizza kitchen in the Grinnell basement, and a couple of coffee bars that took the school meal plan means that there are lots of options besides the snack truck. He caters to the idiots and the desperate, and someobody's gotta do it.

The Student government is preparing its members to pass feel-good legislation showing support for this guy. That's nice, but pointless. If he moves his truck off of campus, I think people will still show up. You can't swing your backpack in Carbondale without hitting a stoner (and having to get the resulting bongwater stains out of your backpack), so this guy will stay in business no matter what.
Judge delays ruling on gay marriage

I'm still for gay marriages, even after the stupidity in San Francisco and Massachusetts. They folks who think that civil disobedience is going to help the gay marriage cause are mistaken. Go through the state legislatures to add gay marriage to the books, the right way to get a law passed. These hijinks in the courthouse could easily spell stiffer resistance to any kind of gay marriage or civil unions. If the FMA goes through, then what will you have besides excess court costs from court services, higher local taxes because of the extra workload, and worthless marriage licenses?

It's robbing Peter to pay Paul, as my grandmother says.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Quick-thinking cops pull 11 from burning houses

This is how you separate the good cops from the lazy cops. Two police officers in Englewood saw a burning building, and went in to resuce a group of complete strangers. A lazy cop would have called the fire department and looked to see if there were any people trapped in the building. These officers went into the burning building and dragged people out.

Saving complete strangers from events bigger than themselves is what police officers and firefighters do best. Good on ya, gents.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Legislators weigh exemption to local gun bans

HB 4075 got through the Senate Judiciary Committee, as is reported in the article. What interests me the most is that this entire debate seems to be based on a conflict between personal rights and community standards. We need both of these values systems, and both systems need to be able to function together. When you get a conflict between the two systems like the right of personal defense vs. the community's desire to prevent violence among its members, the agreement between these two systems breaks down. When that agreement breaks down, either the personal or the community values must come forward. I choose the personal values in this case; I see personal defense as one of the foundations of maintaining good public citizenship. A man who cannot defend himself is unable have a say in how his life is run. A man who will not defend himself is either a fool or a spotlight-hog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

baldilocks: My Name is Baldilocks and I am a Ranter

Baldilocks (the pen-name for the Air Force Reservist who wrote the above post) takes a look at Dubya's Guard pay records. Yes, it does show gaps in service. However, Baldilocks does make a few excellent points in her commentary: the first is that you don't get retirement points for failing to show up for duty, and the second is that your weekend call-ups are extremely flexible in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. Read the entire post, though. It's enlightening for those of us who never served in a Guard or Reserve unit.

I also have to say that I dig her choice in haircuts.
SJ-R.COM - Durbin accused of leaking information

Curiouser and curiouser, as Lewis Carroll once wrote. Richard Durbin, our current US Senator and (unfortunately) Springfield resident, may come under investigation for leaking classified materials. The FBI was investigating House and Senate leaks of the material, but Durbin hasn't been interviewed yet. After all of his squawking, maybe he should release his records?

After all, it's not like Manuel Miranda hasn't had a chance to see them. Legally, Mr. Miranda had the right to see them if they were on a government server. That stuff isn't classified to government employees, and if it's on a public server, it is able to be accessed by anyone. I also agree that it was not unethical of Mr. Miranda to read documents like that on a public server, nor was it illegal. It would have been a violation of ethics had he used that information to blackmail Democrats into passing legislation with which they disagreed, but the viewing of those files itself is not unethical. Perhaps next time, the Democrats who want to keep secrets should save their emails to their local drives or removable media?

Be that as it may, perhaps the public DOES need to see those thousands of memos. I think that Senator Durbin would be pleased to release his batch of emails, right? He is a public official and should have a clear conscience about what he sends via email, right? Let your files be scrutinized by the public, Dickie-Doo, and back up your claims of innocence.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Chicago Tribune | Bush to Release Military Pay Records

I hope this will clear up a few things. One, I hope that it will clear up any questions of President Bush's military service record. Whether it's active duty or National Guard service, it's still service to one's state and nation. I also hope it will clear up DNC chump Terry McAuliffe's concept of "real military service." Here's my take on that.

So, Terry says that not only was the President AWOL, he shouldn't be considered to have served his country because he didn't go to Vietnam? So, Terry, do you mean that all the National Guardsmen didn't really serve if they didn't get called up for service in Vietnam? How about active duty units in Europe? You were aware that we were stationing troops in Europe to prevent a potential Soviet invasion, right, Terry? After the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, there were lots of worries about using Cuba as a Soviet base for bombers. That's why the old Air Force major command of Aerospace Defense Command was created. (It was later absorbed into Tactical and Strategic Air Commands, which were then combined into Air Combat Command around 1991.) Aerospace Defense Command was charged with keeping interceptor flights in the air to stop any incursion from Soviet or other hostile air forces. Guess what, Terry? Air National Guard units were the ones tasked by ADC to do these jobs! Why might this be, Terry? Maybe because using Guard pilots would help to provide better coverage than just using regular Air Force units? There weren't a lot of regular Air Force bases on the Gulf Coast that had multiple fighter squadrons. Most of those were based out of Florida and Texas. But what about Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana? What about the large coastlines of Florida and Texas? Do you think that there could be constant interceptor coverage from just a few regular bases? No, Terry. The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve were called in to fill in very large coverage gaps. Maybe you'd know if you'd done any service yourself.

If Terry McAulliffe views military service as only having served in Vietnam, then he does a grave disservice to not only Vietnam veterans, but the millions of other veterans who have served as well. John Kerry seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid that Terry is serving up, so I've got another reason to avoid Mr. Kerry this year.
Legislator-cop pulls bill that would have boosted cops' pensions

Man, the Chicago Dems just love trying to fatten their wallets via statewide legislation. State Senator Antonio Munoz introduced a bill that would base police pensions off of their last day or last year's salary instead of a four-year average. While this would give a boost to officers who are getting ready to retire after 12/31/2004, it's being done on the backs of retired cops like my father. Those would be the officers who pay taxes but aren't seeing the pension boost. In addition, shouldn't this be done on an office-by-office basis, instead of statewide? Don't the police departments have to have some kind of say in this? What might be good for the Chicago Police Department may not be so good for the Sangamon County Sherriff's Office. Mind you, State Senator Munoz wasn't doing it out of any self-interest even though he's an officer with the CPD. No, he wouldn't try to sneak in any legislation that would serve him directly.

I'm glad someone caught him in the act. When this is combined with Munoz' (admittedly tenuous) connection to Angelo Torres of the current City Truck Scandal, it makes a guy who could be a decent legislator appear really corrupt. Conflicts of interest may be a staple of Chicago politics, but that doesn't mean they should be accepted.

Monday, February 09, 2004

The Peoria Pundit

Check it out. Another Central Illinois blogger on the scene. If nothing else, go for the pictures of many lovely celebrities. He's got a lot of good pundit-type links in his posts as well.

Why are you still here? Go! GO!!! IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD, GO!!!
Daley fires cousin in truck scandal

And again, Hizzoner Junior is playing the blame game. When are Chicagoans going to say "enough is enough" and throw this guy out of office? Do they think that a city can't be run without deep corruption in the city bureaucracy? Does everyone have to be related to everyone else? This isn't a 14th-century English manor, people. You are not serfs bound to Lord Richard Daley of Chicagoshire. Throw the bum out, and let some new bums have a crack at it. I love this part, when the mayor is describing the whole firing of Mark Gyrion:
“I know him, but I don’t have a relationship” with him, Daley said of Gyrion. “It doesn’t matter who they are. He’s terminated.”
Riiiiiight, Richard. You don't have any kind of relationship with your own first cousin on your mom's side, especially when he's a high muckety-muck in your administration. Firings aren't enough, Mayor Daley. You need to get out of Chicago politics altogether. It will definitely make the Chicago section of the Democratic Party a lot more palatable.
Daily Herald: Beauty is more than ballot deep

I think we can file this under "Slow News Day." The entire article is about how good-looking people seem to be the ones who get elected. This is very true on many levels of politics in an age of photography, television and internet coverage. If this is predominantly true, then John Kerry needs to get out of the presidential race now. Yeek.

Then again, Washington DC has been called "Hollywood for ugly people" by more than few wags. If this is the case, then John Kerry has perhaps found his calling. The cover of the current Weekly Standard has a cover blurb of "Why the long face?" next to Kerry's distended jowls. Of course, the Standard also showed a lot about Kerry's demeanor in one of its articles. He seems to be the guy who wants to take a "brave stand" on an issue when other people have already decided to take similar positions to him. What I do find odd is that he spoke against the war in Vietnam throughout his time at Yale, but turned around to join the Navy and serve in combat. Mind you, as soon as he got out he went right back to protesting. He seems to be the guy who has to have it both ways for him to be satisfied. So far the only thing he hasn't seemed to want to do is marry down from his Boston Brahmin class, nor has he wanted to be a member of the homeless culture. I suppose if it'd get him a few votes he'd go for it.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

SJ-R.COM - Education tops spring agenda

I'm going to comment first about the subject of the article, mainly because it deals with the upcoming spring session of the state legislature. Ol' Blaggie wants more money for public education and direct control over education administration throgh a cabinet-level Department of Education. This is nothing new for the governor, and raising fees for voluntary things like fishing licenses and FOID cards is his way of taking care of the budget crunch. The umbra of increased sales and income taxes has also passed over budgetary brainstorming sessions. I can see raising fees for FOID cards and fishing licenses IF AND ONLY IF those monies go directly into the funds for maintaining those programs, and not into the general fund. It keeps the fees lower and prevents a governor from hiking fees on a program he doesn't like in order to pay for a program he does like. There are a few other items on the agenda as well, such as more legalized gambling in the state and the potential of doctors to leave the state due to malpractice insurance costs. Each subject has its own merits, but I'm done highlighting my areas of concern in the article.

My next comment on this article has to do with the reporter. I'm sure that Christopher Wills is a dedicated AP journalist, and I bet he's champing at the bit to get away from the Springfield news beat in pursuit of bigger stories in bigger cities. If anything, he'd probably like a more cosmopolitan city with a 24-hour public transportation service, more snotty waiters working at trendy bistros, and vibrant urban enclaves of various ethnic groups. Springfield isn't the place to be if you're searching for pad thai at 2am, that's for sure. My advice to AP is to send him to that larger city. This is not (completely) because he does a bad job reporting what people said, this is because the State Journal-Register, the city's paper of record with its own staff of statehouse reporters, should be writing and publishing articles from in-house reporters. Instead of sending a reporter from the SJ-R to gather information and write the article, they print an Associated Press report about the subject. This is as lazy as you can get for a publisher. When covering a local story, why not send a local reporter to do the job? Is it really that tough to send someone eight blocks from the SJ-R building to the Capitol? The editors should be ashamed for using a wire service report as the sole source of information on a local event. Publish your own reporters' work. And if Mr. Wills is a reporter for the Journal-Register, he should be using the SJ-R as his byline, not the Associated Press.

Then again, the way that Mr. Wills submitted his report, maybe the editors should allow him to use the AP byline instead. Look at the structure of the story. Each "paragraph" is one or two sentences long. To make matters worse, some of the sentences start with "and" or "but," errors which would have sent my English teachers into a tizzy. I can see using structure like that if you write in a stream of consciousness manner like I occasionally do on this blog. I'm not getting paid for it, so I write in a very informal voice. Mr. Wills is a professional reporter and doesn't even stick to basic rules of elementary and middle school grammar! How is this possible? Does the AP manual of style allow for this? Where is the simplicity of opening, body and closing? Where are the three rules of "Tell your audience what you're going to say, say it, and then tell them what you just said," the writing and public speaking rules that even noncommissioned officers in the armed forces must learn? Mr. Wills uses the first rule only in the vaguest sense, as his first paragraph gives only a basic view of what is coming up next. The last paragraph has no summary yet it hints that budget and legislative issues will be used in political campaigns, which should be a subject for another article. If this form of writing is what passes for educated writing in modern newspapers, then I fail to see how I haven't been snapped up by one of the better papers or magazines. This writing style of two-sentence paragraphs is horrible. It's like the reporter was deliberately padding his work to make it look like a substantial report.

In closing, the opening of the state legislative session is too important for local reporters to take a pass on reporting it, and the writers who are assigned to the story need to write at a greater depth in their articles. The State Journal-Register should be ashamed for running a statehouse article that isn't produced by an in-house writer since it is the paper of record in the state capital. Finally, the state should try to deliver more information on how it expects to pay for its programs. I hope have made myself abundantly clear on these subjects.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Black Conservative

I found this site while reading a book review of "Losing The Race" on Townhall.com. This site is chock-full of amazingly good writing from my fellow Americans. These writers have a lot of the same views and values that I do, so I urge you to give this site a read. They may not have as much to say as I do about the Second Amendment (and I admit, I haven't read through all of their archives just yet), and I'd probably lock horns with them over gay marriage, but they also champion the cause of personal responsibility, family and religious faith. More power to you all.
CNN.com - Cubans try floating vintage car to Florida - Feb. 5, 2004

This tells you a couple of things, not the least of which is that American automakers used to build 'em right back in the 1950s.

This also says that people are willing to use any method they can to get out of Cuba. We don't have a naval blockade around the country like in 1962. Numerous countries from Europe, Central America and South America, the nation of Canada, and dozens of Hollywood's brightest-yet-dimmest stars have been able to go to Cuba, spend lots of money, and invigorate a tourism economy. Even the former governor of my fair state George Ryan (a pox upon his person) wanted to normalize trade relations between Cuba and Illinois. Despite all that money and all those people spending said money, Cubans will do anything to escape the lack of prosperity they find in their own nation. They will do anything to leave Castro's "island paradise." Cuba is a nation where it's illegal to own a private library, where people who publically oppose Fidel Castro are thrown in jail and left to rot (like Dr. Elias Oscar Biscet) and where the tourists get sent to meet hand-picked party loyalist Cubans as "just your average Cuban" and shop for knick-knacks in stores where regular Cuban citizens are forbidden to shop.

After all this, Hollywood stooges like Oliver Stone and the former governor of Illinois still drool over Fidel Castro as some kind of hero. I'll tell you this: he stopped being a hero as soon as he came to power. That's when he relinquished that job for the position of "Maximum Leader." These people will tell you that things will get better in Cuba if we just lift our embargoes and sanctions. Fidel's a really nice guy who is just misunderstood by us evil Republicans, according to their logic. And besides, they continue, there's all these bad things that occur on a daily basis in the United States, so we shouldn't judge him by our standards.

Bravo Sierra, to borrow a phrase from G. Gordon Liddy.

I don't see people trying to escape to Cuba from the United States, unless they're wanted for state or federal crimes like murder, robbery, child sexual assault, terrorism, or things like that. No one escapes to Cuba because they voted for Gore in 2000 and now live in fear of being arrested for backing a loser.

And any of you who feel that the United States is really that bad of a place? If you have a car, you can now drive to Cuba if you feel so inclined. Why settle for Mexico or the America-lite that is Canada? You too can be feted on the backs of the oppressed Cubans, and paraded around in the company of a dictator. Do you need directions? Here you go:

1. Drive your unworthy self to Florida. Stop when you hit water.

2. Convert your car into a boat.

3. Launch your new boat and keep heading south until your boat is sunk by Castro's navy or air force for "attempting to invade Cuba"

4. Kiss your backside goodbye.

Simple enough, no?

The only place where the US suffers from a "chilling effect" on freedom of expression is in your own mind.
Comments are back up, kids! Nik over at Comment This!, my comment service, reported a "server barf." Sounds like it to me, Nik.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Daily Herald - Bands battle has Wheeling, Buffalo Grove students rockin'

You know, when this is the usual kind of story that the local paper runs about your town, this says that you live in a safe, if boring, city. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but I prefer a safe, boring city if I'm going to live somewhere.
Governor Opposes Md. Weapons Ban (washingtonpost.com) Registration now required for the Washington Post.

Yes, this doesn't really have to do with Illinois, but I thought some members of the gun culture around here might like to see what's going on in other states. Maryland Governor Bob Erlich is calling for an end to the "assault weapons" ban in his state. Like Jeff at Alphecca has stated before, this is a ban of weapons that look like their military counterparts, or that look "cool" enough that Hollywood would use them in an action movie. It's purely a reason of cosmetics that led to this ban. The ban prohibits the sale of M-16 and AK-47 lookalikes like the Bushmaster, Browning H-Bar or SKS semi-automatic rifles. Note that these weapons are semi-automatic. You have to pull the trigger each time you want to fire off a round. You can't just hold down the trigger and keep firing. However, this doesn't mean that a state legislator is bright enough to know the difference between "automatic" and "semi-automatic" weapons:
"If we don't act, on September 14 you are going to be able to buy an AK-47 again or an Uzi or a street sweeper [shotgun] because Congress is not going to act," said Robert J. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), the lead sponsor in the Senate.
I fail to see how someone is going to be able to legally purchase an automatic weapon that is prohibited from sale to non-licensed collectors under federal law. Or did he forget about the 1934 law that prohibits the sale of automatic weapons and machine guns to civilians?

What a moron.
Eric Zorn: Weblogs of note

Chicago Tribune journalist and columnist Eric Zorn put me on his website's blog list. Thanks, Eric! Mel-O-Cream doughtnuts for everyone in celebration of this event!
Hey there.

Until my comments site is back up and running, I've had to disable the Comments feature. Sorry about that.

If you have something you'd like to say email me at jchinds-at-earthlink-dot-net.
Chicago Tribune | Charges dropped in Wilmette gun case

Ahem.

IN YOUR FACE, WILMETTE CITY COUNCIL!!!

The Cook County State's Attorney isn't going to prosecute Hale DeMar for not having an up-to-date FOID card. While I thought they'd at least give him a small fine and make him re-apply for a FOID card (and I do hope that Mr. DeMar at least re-registers), the State's Attorney won't prosecute it as a misdemeanor. I think a small fine would be appropriate in this case, but the county thinks otherwise. More power to them.

Now all that's left is the case over the handgun ban itself. Keep going, Mr. DeMar. Fight this and get that ban overturned. The people of Wilmette deserve to live in safety, and live with the choice of personal responsibility.
Daily Herald- Powder sent in letter to business not toxic Substance is only corn starch

This happened recently in the neighboring town of Buffalo Grove. Someone decides to sent a threatening letter filled with white powder to a company, in imitation of the ricin and anthrax letters sent to Congressional offices.

This is as bad as what happened in Springfield after the anthrax letters were first sent out. It turns out a couple of letters had been sent to state offices in Springfield. All of them turned up negative, but the worst part about it is that somebody just wanted a frickin' day off from work. So, a little bit of talcum powder, a badly-addressed envelope, and a little statement like "I found some kind of weird powder in this envelope" was someone's way to go home early from work, and hope for tomorrow off, too.

Maybe Buffalo Grove police should look through employee records to see who has an axe to grind with management, and see who likes to call in sick all the time. It's just a thought.
Abolt resigns in truck scandal

So. Mayor Daley lays all the blame on Bill Abolt, while promising everyone that he's not blaming Mr. Abolt. Now that Abolt's gone, the crisis is over.

It's a "re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic" level of denial.

Chicagoans deserve a better mayor than Richard Daley. As if we needed another reminder of his ability to tell people the opposite of the truth, he wants to let his constituents know that the issue is over.
"People believe me. Yes, they do. Yes. I corrected this in one day."

There we are, kids, right at the end of the article. Hizzoner Junior waved his magic frickin' Wand Of Mayorality and cleared up the whole mess. No longer will private trucks just sit idle while their owners collect easy money. Mayor Daley said so, and we can believe him, right?

If that's the case, I've got some great commercial and residential properties 10 blocks east of Lake Shore Drive I'd like to sell.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

CIA chief defends prewar efforts

Gah. Just... gah.

Katherine Pfleger needs to go back through the White House website, read the 2003 State of The Union address, which said this:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.


Here is her first paragraph, taking that quote out of context:
In his first public defense of prewar intelligence, CIA Director George Tenet said Thursday that U.S. analysts had never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat, the main argument used by President Bush for going to war.


Hello, Ms. Pfleger? READ THE DAMN SPEECH AGAIN. US analysts said that Iraq wasn't an imminent threat, and NEITHER DID THE PRESIDENT. President Bush called for the removal of Saddam Hussein BEFORE his regime became an imminent threat to American safety. Hussein already proved his willingness to cause Americans harm in the first Gulf War, allowed terrorists like Abu Nidal to live in his country when it was expedient, and allowed for groups like Ansar al-Islam and al-Qaeda to set up training bases in his country. Or did you forget about what was found at Salman Pak?

Dear readers, I say unto you: good grief. How long are we going to continue to let such slipshod journalists write for our papers?

U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

After the revelation of testing chemical weapons on entire families of North Korean political prisoners, plus the fact that their "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il has been making numerous chemical and nuclear weapons, it's time to take him and his regime down. This guy is as bad as Saddam Hussein, if not worse. Once we can remove troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan, I say we send them to North Korea and clean up this stain on East Asia's prosperity.

I wonder if the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves needs volunteers...
Chicago Tribune | Forbidden from view no longer

GEEK SENSE TINGLING AGAIN!!!

422 items from the court of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty are going to be put on display at the Field Museum.

Pardon me while I squeal in delight in the manner of a schoolgirl.

Okay, I'm done.

Included is not only a Ming Dynasty zither, but also personal effects of Qianlong's wives and get ready for this history geeks...

Qianlong's Throne Room.

Okay, maybe I'm not done squealing for joy in the manner of a schoolgirl yet.

Yes, an Imperial Chinese Throne Room. Here's the quote in the Trib:
One of the major components of the exhibit is Qianlong's throne room, which has survived intact in one of the Forbidden City palaces. It was dismantled for the Chicago exhibit.

We're getting a THRONE ROOM. This is thoroughly awesome.

When tickets go on sale, I'll be in line.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4075

All right.

Seven more co-sponsors signed on to the bill today. This is great.
A Crossroad for the Catholic Church (washingtonpost.com)

Many thanks to National Review Online's The Corner for bringing this article to light.

George Weigel presents the three most pressing issues to the Catholic Church one Pope John Paul II dies. It's not abortion, nor gay clergy, nor any of the issues that Americans consider to be important Catholic issues. As Mr. Weigel points out, those issues have already been settled by doctrine. Any reference to them would be done strictly as political issues, not religious. Instead, the crisis of faith in Western Europe, the need to face Islam and its radical sects, and reconciling biotechnology with Chruch teachings are going to be the issues; the future Pontiff must attend to them.

The Catholic Church in the United States is not the only group with issues it considers germane to the selection of a new Pope, and American Catholics need to understand this. We can solve our own local problems and at the same time lend support to the international agenda of the Roman Catholic Church. This is not just a policy of being a good member of the flock, it is an ideal that is prefectly suited for Americans.
Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4075

Here's the legislation that Representative Bradley is proposing. House Bill 4075. Refer to this when writing your local legislators.
Chicago Tribune | Legislator wants law that overrides handgun bans

Yes, it's almost a week old by blogosphere standards, but I dredged this back up for a reason. Last night, I went to a Townhall.com meeting for local conservatives. One of the things we agreed on is the need to convince Illinois legislators to vote for John Bradley's bill. Yeah, he's a Democrat, but he's a Southern Illinois Democrat, which means he's of a far more conservative bent than your typical Chicago or Springfield Democrat. The bill is being co-sponsored by Mike Bost of Murphysboro, a Republican. I reported this about a week ago, but I'm asking all of my readers to write or call their state representatives and senators to tell them to support Representative Bradley's bill.

Look at the Illinois General Assembly page to find your local State Representative and Senator. Fortunately for me, I've got Republicans for Senator and Representative, so they're more likely to agree.

CALL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL. Tell them to support John Bradley's bill. Do it to make me happy if nothing else.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Anticipatory Retaliation

213 Things you shouldn't do on active military duty.

God knows I wanted to try some of these when I was in the Air Force.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Chicago Tribune | Quarrel at eatery leads to multiple stabbing

(A soup├žon of bitter sarcasm follows)

Aside from the usual questions of personal responsibility and wondering what they were thinking, where are the calls to ban knives? Why weren't there child safety locks on those knives, preventing them from being drawn and used on other human beings? Were the knife-users carrying Blade Owner Identification cards or were they carrying them illegally?

Oh, right. Knives are tools, guns are just evil in metal form. I guess I forgot that.
Wis. man faces abduction charges

I hope this guy, David M. Larsen, gets a maximum sentence for what he did. Abducting your ex-wife and kids, then shoving your ex into a garbage can and hiding her in a storage locker is less than human. It is even more monstrous when you can be assured that either starvation or exposure to the cold will kill her. Temperatures in the locker were around 20 degrees, and if you don't have a better way to trap heat than some plastic boxes, you're going to suffer from frostbite and hypothermia.

All this apparently occurred because he didn't get his way in a divorce proceeding. There are a lot of easier ways to resolve the conflict of a messy divorce, but it appears that Mr. Larsen was too stupid or too lazy to look for them. What a petty bastard.
SJ-R.COM - 1876 map reveals city's past

Geek Sense -- TINGLING!!!

A wonderful anonymous donor gave a set of maps of the city of Springfield to the Lincoln Library Sangamon Valley Collection. (The Lincoln Library should not be confused with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library that is situated a few blocks away.) Granted, the maps are in poor condition and need to be restored, but the price of restoration is worth it. This is a primary source document that will serve to give a better idea of what Springfield was like in the post-Civil War era.

The Sangamon Valley Collection is one of the best non-university special collections I've seen in a library. I used it quite a bit in high school whenever I needed to do a research paper on a US History or local history topic. It's a collection of old newspaper articles, high school yearbooks, plat books (great for looking up old boundary lines on private property) and of course, maps of the city and surrounding area. While some folks think that the internet will be the end of libraries as we know it, special collections like this will prove the "No need for libraries" theory false.

The Sangamon Valley Collection was also one of the factors that started me on the path of the historian. Collections such as this provide a common history for Springfielders to explore, share and call their own. This collection is open to everyone, and allows any student or citizen to know how their city became what it is today.

While I am a budding historian, my academic specialization is actually in East Asia. The reason for this is because while Springfielders have access to their shared history, they may not know about the history of other parts of the world. That's where my specialization comes in. I can show others who can't or won't leave the area what else is around them, and how other parts of the world compare to my hometown. Sharing information about other parts of the world may allow old preconceived notions to be removed and for clearer communication between everyone involved. This cuts both ways, though. When you provide such information, you can't just focus on all the positive or negative aspects of another culture. You have to look at as big of a picture as possible. Sometimes you'll find that the negative aspects of a culture outweigh the positive aspects. If that's the case, you'll be better prepared to deal with that culture when representatives of said culture come to visit. Likewise, when you find a culture where the positive outweighs the negative, you'll be better able to make those visitors feel welcome and safe. This is a crucial part of learning history.

Now back to the maps. Joy! Unbridled joy and happiness! There are new maps to look over, to enjoy, and to understand! These maps can give a better idea of what businesses were in existence at the time, giving a better picture of how people lived in the 1870s in central Illinois. A find like this certainly something to be treasured.