Saturday, February 28, 2015

Whether (Rahm) Emanuel or Jesus (Garcia) wins on April 7, Chicago's finances are descending into hell

Chicago's financial rating has been devalued again, and is now only two steps above junk bonds.

Couldn't come at a worse time for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It seems that whether Emanuel or Jesus (Garcia) wins the April 7 runoff, Chicago's finances are likely to continue their descent into hell.

Resurrection, I fear, will have to come from elsewhere.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yes, Blackhawk fans. There IS an upside to Patrick Kane's injury!

Is somebody on dwarf planet Ceres sending us signals?

Well... no. But something interesting is going on.

NASA'S Dawn spacecraft, approaching the largest object in the asteroid belt, has detected a second bright light or reflection on its surface.

Dawn will enter orbit around Ceres on March 6. Scientists speculate that the lights may be volcanic in origin.

Ceres was the first asteroid to be discovered, and the largest- large enough to have been formed by gravity into a sphere. Discovered in 1881, it was briefly considered a classical planet before astronomers realized that it was the largest of an entirely new classification of celestial objects between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Although its tenure as a planet was briefer than Pluto's the story of its demotion has similarities.

HT: Drudge

Sounds right, Marco

Sen. Marco Rubio says that we have to begin by ensuring that immigration into the United States is controlled in the future.

Then we can talk about what to do about law-abiding illegal immigrants who are here now.

Sounds reasonable to me. It also sounds like Marco has been listening to the base.

HT: Drudge

Eric Holder plays the race card

Racism is all too real in America, and all too prevalent. But it's also all too easy to play the race card as an excuse when an African-American public official is criticized.

Whatever one thinks of Eric Holder's legacy at the Justice Department, he shouldn't cheapen it by making such an accusation his parting shot.

Once that happens, the conversation, as a practical matter, is over. And on matters as important as the enforcement of civil rights legislation,

Tea Party extremists may walk out on Jeb

There's a movement afoot among some extreme Tea Party types to walk out during Jeb Bush's CPAC presentation today, apparently at least partially because of his last name. That, his support of Common Core, and his favorable attitude toward immigration reform.

Walking out is not an effective debating technique. This needs to be the time for conservatives and Republicans to be discussing our differences and preparing a common front against Hillary, not writing people off because. The rule-or-ruin mentality that says that somebody has to be rejected if you disagree with him ten percent of the time is an attitude for losers. And I still can think of few things as silly as opposing a candidate because of his or her last name.

I- like most "establishment" Republicans- would at least have the courtesy to listen to Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. As of now, I couldn't vote for either of them for president. But I do think I owe them a hearing.

And a little courtesy.

ADDENDUM: Jeb apparently handled the tantrum quite well.

HT: Drudge

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A non-viable account of death

The UK's Independent has run an account by a man who was clinically dead for two minutes.

Nothing new about that, of course. But the interesting thing is that he says that death is nothingness- just a blank lack of consciousness. The Independent even cites the example of a second man who gave a similar account.

Now, I'm not even going to get into the obvious point that many, many people have returned from clinical death with very elaborate descriptions of an afterlife- descriptions scientists and others quite rightly take with several shakers full of salt. The experiences clearly could be artifacts of a dying brain. But I'd like to know in what possible sense the experience these guys report is any more credible, or any more definitive?

Even more, I'd like to know how, if death is a lack of consciousness and awareness, they can report what it's like. Certainly they could report a lack of memory. But in the absence of consciousness or awareness, how does one perceive a lack of consciousness or awareness?

The answer seems to be that in their case there was simply time they couldn't account for. They "blacked out." But plenty of people do that without dying. And their lack of specific memory for the interval hardly seems very convincing evidence of what it's like to be dead.

Sorry, Independent. Not only is this not news, but it's not even very interesting. It's certainly not very informative.

It's not just that it doesn't prove anything. It really doesn't even suggest anything.

HT: Drudge

Et tu, Drudge?

Matt Drudge is usually thought of as being one of the comparatively few conservative news sources. But he pulled a boner today that made him look like the liberal media at their worst.

The Drudge Report ran a link reading: "FLASHBACK: Jeb Bush called GOP 'anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay'...

But what Bush actually said in the 2013 statement was, "All too often we’re associated with being ‘anti’ everything. Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on.”

But wait. Maybe Drudge has an excuse.

It turns out that he was merely quoting The Washington Post's misrepresentation of Bush's statement at the time.

Both Drudge and the Post should be ashamed- Drudge, for failing to read the story carefully enough before writing his misleading link, and the Post for the sleazy, partisan slight-of-hand with which it converted a statement about other peoples mistaken perception about reality into one about reality itself.

Race, religion and 2012

Interesting new Rasmussen poll on the relation between race and religion in determining who people voted for in the 2012 presidential election.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Turtledove's Joe Steele is out

Just came across this review of Turtledove's Joe Steele, an alternate history novel in which Stalin's parents migrate to California and he, rather than FDR, wins the 1932 Democratic presidential nomination.

Sounds like it might suffer from the common Turtledove weakness of mimicking actual historical events on our own timeline too closely, without reflecting on some of the consequences the differences might bring. But the premise still scares me to death.

A Christologically-themed runoff in Chicago: Emanuel vs. Jesus

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed in his bid to win a second term outright in yesterday's election. Instead he will face a runoff with County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

With 98% of the vote counted, Emanuel had 45.4% of the vote to Garcia's 33.0%. Businessman Willie Wilson had 10.6%, Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti had 7.4%, and perennial candidate William "Dock" Walls had 2.8%.

Nearly all the voters who reported themselves "undecided" in pre-election polls ended up going to Garcia.

I've frequently been critical of Emanuel, whose attempt to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant within the Chicago city limits because owner Dan Cathy had contributed to efforts to fight same-sex marriage represented an abuse of power which itself would merit the mayor's defeat, in my opinion. But the fact is, nevertheless, that Emanuel has taken on powerful special interests within the Cook County Democratic party- the Teachers' Union comes to mind- and exercised a remarkably responsible fiscal policy during his first term. He stands in sharp- and, frankly, refreshing- contrast to, for example, New York Mayor Bill di Blasio, who has pandered to special interests right and left.

Well, actually, only left.

Garcia represents the same wing of the Democratic party di Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) exemplify. The voters of Chicago have sided with the Teacher's Union in survey after survey, seem to resent Emanuel's fiscal restraint, and hold the mayor responsible for the spike in Chicago's murder rate during his term in office. And Emanuel's strong support from Chicago business leaders have earned him the nickname "Mayor 1 Percent" in far Left circles and making him a villain in the eyes of the Warren/di Blasio/Garcia wing of the Democratic party. Strong support from President Obama, whom Emanuel served as Chief-of-Staff in his first term, apparently didn't help much.

While I have a hunch that Emanuel will be re-elected in the April 7 runoff- his resources are deep, and his road to the 50%-plus-one he'll need much shorter than Garcia's- there is no question that he's in big trouble. And though I never thought I'd see the day, it appears that Chicago will select its next mayor, not on the ground of patronage or power politics, but of ideology and policy.

Who'da thunk it?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Outright or in a run-off, Emanuel probably is going to win

Carol Fesenthal looks at today's Chicago mayoral election.

Incumbent Rahm Emanuel- who needs 50% plus one- will probably win outright. If not, he'll probably face far-Left Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in a runoff.

Which Emanuel will probably win.

HT: Drudge

'Modern Family's' tasteless slams at the Blackhawks

It seem that the TV show "Modern Family-" at least one producer of which is an LA Kings fan- has a vendetta against the Blackhawks.

The unfunny bad taste with which the show recently poked something less than fun at the Hawks is recounted here.

Bad taste in network TV is a given. But does making fun of a great Native American leader and a heroic American division in World War II- as well as a very good hockey team and classy organization from a town which apparently has far more grown-up sensitivities than the producers of "Modern Family-" really necessary? Where is this coming from, anyway?

Certainly not from a grown-up wit.

HT: Yardbarker

ADDENDUM: After Sunday's humiliating loss to the Bruins, GM Stan Bowman personally gave the team a talking-to- and then sent Antti Raanta and Ryan Hartman to Rockford while calling up goalie Scott Darling and Joakim Nordstrom.

They also gave Darling- a Chicago-area kid- a two-year contract extension.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The media's ideological double-standard at work

Thomas Lifson on the several ways the reporting of Rudy Giuliani's remarks about President Obama's patriotism represent a double standard in reporting by the liberal media.

HT: Real Clear Politics

And speaking of double-standards...

...it seems to me that this story deserves at least as much attention among the Islamophobes as others on less savory actions undertaken by Muslims.

HT: Drudge

What's good for the elephant apparently isn't good for the donkey

Rudy Giuliani is receiving death threats after his statement that he doesn't think President Obama loves his country.

The outrage of the Left and pseudo-Center is deafening. But where was the outrage when Obama said this?

The White House, by contrast, regards Mayor Giuliani's remarks as "horrible."

Now, whether they're fair and reasonable or not, shouldn't the same standards of fairness and reasonableness be used when a Democrat comments about a Republican president? How are Giuliani's comments more "horrible" than Mr. Obama's own?

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, among others, are up in arms about the double standard the media display in reporting comments by conservatives and liberals. Walker's own comment that he "didn't know" whether Mr. Obama is a Christian- intended as a rebuff of what he considered an inappropriate question- apparently has been repeated in some quarters as casting doubt on the President's faith- an interpretation the Wisconsin governor's office pointedly rejects.

HT: Drudge

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicago has had near-almighty mayors before....

...but now it may be choosing between somebody named Emanuel and somebody named Jesus.

Far-Leftie Jesus "Chuy" Garica, whom one might think of as the Bill di Blasio or Elizabeth Warren of Chicago, is the most formidable of four challengers to somewhat less far-Left Rahm Emanuel, who thinks it's proper to stop anybody whose politics he disagrees with from opening a restaurant within the city limits. Emanuel represents the Obama/Clinton wing of the party that has never heard of Tom Jefferson.

It used to be that the political wars in Chicago were between the Machine and those who chose to think for themselves. Now they're between the outrageously extreme and the somewhat less outrageously extreme.

And it's just more evidence of how hopelessly out of touch with reality and American values the Democratic party really is.

God help the city I love, whoever wins!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wow.

First Rudy Giuliani.

And now, Charles Barkley.

Maybe somebody will wake up and smell the reality:this guy is the most radical and the least ideologically American president at least in modern times.

HT: Drudge

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jefferson vs. the Democrats: the definitive political debate of our age

It shouldn't be surprising, perhaps, that the Left doesn't really "get" human rights.

It shouldn't be surprising that they find it objectionable when an imaginary "right" to have one's birth control paid for by one's employer is compromised by the discovery of an inconvenient "freedom of religion" in the Constitution which excuses employers for whom doing so would violate their First Amendment rights from having to pay for it.

It shouldn't be surprising that when the Government decides that it's "discrimination" stand by the centuries-old understanding of the legal nature and function of religion, that religion should give way to the dictates of government.

Thomas Jefferson would never had made that mistake. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," the putative father of the modern Democratic party wrote,

...that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..…

There are really only two philosophies that matter when it comes to human rights. Jefferson's is one of them. The other is Mao's: the aphorism that "power grows out of the barrel of a gun," that might makes right, and that none of us have any rights, finally, than those the kindness of those bigger and more powerful than we are deigns to recognize.

Those are the two options as to the origins of human rights. There is no third option. Conservatives side with Jefferson. Modern "Progressives" side with Mao.

And that's really the end of the story. The bizarre objection CNN's Chris Cuomo raised to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's citing of Jefferson's position- and that which has finally ended up lying at the heart of every theory of liberal social democracy in history, regardless of the religious beliefs (or lack of them) held by their adherents- only goes to illustrate the fundamental and irreducible conflict between the "progressive" movement and the very humanist, liberal impulse it (falsely) claims to embody.

What Barack Obama and Chris Cuomo and the rest on the Left really mean is that your rights are only those the government chooses, out of the goodness of its heart, to allow you to (temporarily) exercise. What the social Right is saying is that our rights have their origin in God, and that nobody has the right to take them away.

Not even Big Brother.

'Shock and Awe'

While the candidate was keeping a modest, low profile during the past year, the Jeb Bush fundraising machine has been "planning its work, and working its plan," as both Memphis political boss E.H. Crump and British lioness Margaret Thatcher advised us all to do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You can't make this stuff up

Is Scott Walker emerging as Jeb's main competition for the GOP nod?

According to The Telegraph's Raf Sanchez, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is emerging as the main alternative to Jeb Bush as the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

Sanchez points out that Walker is basically acceptable to all factions of the GOP, and is consolidating an enviable position as "the anti-Bush" in a year when Republicans as well as Independents seem to be thirsting for a new face.

Walker, who never graduated from college, may also be the perfect bait to draw out the ugly elitism and unwarranted intellectual pretension of the Left. Democrats feel that they're smarter and generally better than the rest of us, and that could make Scott Walker- an everyman the American voter might just be able to identify with-  a match made in hell for Hillary.

Monday, February 16, 2015

'Justification by poor taste' seems to be the new Episcopal dogma

I remember being told by a gay Episcopalian colleague in a CPE group that the cardinal doctrine of Anglicanism was "justification by good taste."  But if anything, it now seems to be the opposite.

It's been many years since the Episcopal church has been much more than a front for snobbish paganism. But it still hurts to see the depths to which a communion which was once proud literally to a fault has descended.

Maybe Hillary isn't the favorite after all

All over America, the chattering heads are simply assuming that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be our next president.

But the National Journal reports that the model makers and paradigm analysts aren't so sure.

Red may be in style on Election Night 2016 after all.

ADDENDUM: More bad news for Hillary.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Those anti-science Democrats

The Democrats are the party of reason, right? And the Republicans the ones at war with science?

Oh, you'd be surprised.

HT: Real Clear Politics

NYT: Walker cut Wisconsin's education budget a year before he took office

Scott Walker took office as governor of Wisconsin in 2011.

But that didn't prevent the New York Times- America's zany Left political pamphlet of record- from accusing him of cutting the state's education budget in 2010.

The times has retracted the error- and archived it.

HT: Drudge

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Justice Thomas: SCOTUS has already "made up their minds" on marriage redefinition

First Roe v. Wade. Now gay "marriage."

Once again, Clarence Thomas warns us, the U.S. Supreme Court is about to prematurely short circuit a debate concerning which the American people are deeply divided, eliminate any prospect of the division ever being healed or a consensus reached, and impose a solution that is more personal preference than law.

Once again, we are about to be rent asunder by the lawlessness of the Supreme Court of the United States.

HT: Real Clear Religion

Contributors flocking to Jeb- but not to Hillary

Looks like Jeb Bush has a big leg up on his 2016 GOP rivals- at least in the fundraising department.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, isn't doing so hot financially, at least among the Obama crowd.

HT: Drudge

Ernie Banks has gone missing

Ernie Banks is said to be buried at Graceland Cemetery, blocks from Wrigley Field. But Graceland Cemetery denies it. Of course, he once expressed his desire to have his ashes scattered over the playing surface at Wrigley.

It's not clear that doing that would even be legal. But in any case, a dispute has erupted between Banks' estranged widow and the executor of his estate over the matter of what to with his body.

And it isn't even clear right now where his body is.

Unseemly. This great ballplayer and hero to a generation of Chicagoans deserves to be treated with greater dignity in death.