Monthly archives: March, 2009

South Side Irish Parade Ending

Organizers of the South Side Irish Parade, held close to St. Patrick’s Day each year in Chicago, say they are ending the parade, “not planning to stage a parade in its present form.”

Newsflash here from the Chicago Tribune, and the entire news release is here.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is Trying to Stand Up

It’s going to be quite a ride watching the Republicans try to reorganize themselves.  They really want power.  They should focus on issues and developing policy.  Their only policy is their stubborn ideology regardless of circumstances.

Governor Bobby Jindal is trying to position himself for a presidential bid for 2012.  He says it’s time for the GOP to stand up to President Obama.

Of course it is.  Why wait until you have ideas?

From CBS 2 Chicago:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal again found himself carrying the Republican mantle opposite a primetime appearance from President Barack Obama on Tuesday, saying Republicans must be ready to defy the president when they disagree with his policies. He also joked about his widely panned response to Obama’s address to Congress last month.

“We are now in the position of being the loyal opposition,” Jindal said at a Republican congressional fundraising dinner that only by coincidence fell on the same night as Obama’s news conference. “The right question to ask is not if we want the president to fail or succeed, but whether we want America to succeed.”

Saying “the time for talking about the past is over,” Jindal said Republicans have begun to find their voice after back-to-back elections losses — motivated by what he called historic Democratic spending excess.

“The time for talking about the past is over.”  Of course it is.  The past is how we got into the mess we’re in right now: Republican policies, George W. Bush, historic Republican spending excess.

Yes, and don’t you forget it: Historic Republican spending excess.  In all the wrong places.

Stand up, Bobby.  Repackage for us the same, old, dangerous Republican policies that paved the way for the Great George W. Bush Recession — and thank Americans they tossed your party’s sorry collective asses the hell out of Dodge.

Jordan Brown, 11, Should Be Charged as a Juvenile

Jordan Brown

Tragic news out of Wampum, PA:

The 11-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing his father’s pregnant fiancée is due in court on Tuesday.

Kenzie Houk, 26, was eight months pregnant when, police said, Jordan Brown shot and killed her at her home in Wampum in Lawrence County.

Brown, who was charged as an adult in the case, is expected to appear in court on charges of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors have said his motive may have been jealousy.

There is no good way to resolve this situation.  A woman and her unborn child are dead.

But an 11-year-old boy being charged as an adult with first degree murder?

This is insane.

The crime is horrible.  Punishing this child as an adult is insane. And a crime.

Three Cheers as Old Notre Dame Invites Obama

As an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, I was very pleased to hear that the University has invited President Barack Obama to deliver the 2009 Commencement Address.  I was in the room in 1985 when then-Gov. Mario Cuomo spoke at Washington Hall, presenting his views on abortion.   I still have my copy of his embargoed talk.

I applauded the University then, and I applaud them now as they invite the President to address the graduates.

Some Catholic groups are not so happy.  From The Observer online:

Several religious and pro-life groups nationwide are expressing outrage and threatening to protest in South Bend after the University announced President Barack Obama will deliver the 2009 Commencement address at Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony May 17.

Assistant Vice President for News and Information Dennis Brown told The Observer a rumor that University switchboards were overwhelmed with callers and had to be shut down Friday night is false – a claim made by a March 20 article on

Although many outside groups are protesting University President Fr. John Jenkins’ decision, The Observer reported in an Oct. 8, 2008 article that Obama led the student body with 52.6 percent of the vote in a mock election held by student government, in which 2,692 undergraduates and graduate students voted.

Further along in the article, we read, “A representative in the office of Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, said Cardinal George declined to comment on the issue because Notre Dame is out of the organization’s jurisdiction.”

I’m sure the Bishop John D’Arcy of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese will weigh in.  He’s a frequent critic of the University.  But the University is doing the right thing.

I first met President Obama when he was running for the United States Senate, and was immediately convinced that he is a man of outstanding character and intellect.  I consider him a man of tremendous compassion.

I’m very proud of my Alma Mater today.  Three Cheers for Old Notre Dame!

Turning Left in Top 100 on BlogBurst

Just wanted to say how pleased we are to announce that Turning Left has broken into the top 100 in BlogBurst, the syndication service that places blogs on top-tier online destinations, is a product of Pluck Corporation, headquartered in Austin, Texas.  There are thousands of blogs registered with BlogBurst.  We’re honored that Turning Left is rising to the top!

Many of our posts appear in the Chicago Sun-Times, but posts from Turning Left have turned up on Reuters, USA Today, and even <shock> FoxNews </shock>.

Thanks to you, our readers, and to our friends at BlogBurst for helping us spread the truth on the Left!

Time to Trust Economists, Time to Listen to Krugman

I am not an economist.  I have been a politician.  When serving in office, I trust the financial advice of those who know better than I do. We all have our limitations, and, depending on the office, the job of the politician is to develop sound policy.  Likewise, I’m not likely to trust the scientific advice of other pols who tell me there is no global warming.  On that, I’ll talk to the two astronomers I know.  When they tell me global warming is real, I understand that they understand the science, and can draw that conclusion.

So I don’t really give a care what anyone in Congress has to say about the Bush Recession we’re stuck in as long as they choose ideology over common sense.  And the Obama administration has me worried, largely because they’re worrying the New York Times’ Paul Krugman.  I’ll err on the side of listening to a Nobel laureate instead of the pols, even if that politician is President Barack Obama.

Krugman says this in today’s New York Times:

Over the weekend The Times and other newspapers reported leaked details about the Obama administration’s bank rescue plan, which is to be officially released this week. If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

That’s cause for concern.  We certainly cannot afford to recycle the Bush adminstration’s failed policies.

Krugman continues:

This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.

After all, we’ve just been through the firestorm over the A.I.G. bonuses, during which administration officials claimed that they knew nothing, couldn’t do anything, and anyway it was someone else’s fault. Meanwhile, the administration has failed to quell the public’s doubts about what banks are doing with taxpayer money.

And now Mr. Obama has apparently settled on a financial plan that, in essence, assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.

Barack Obama is a brilliant politician, but I’m afraid he’s reached his own, “Good job Brownie!” moment.  We can’t afford to hold on to Tim Geithner if he’s too entrenched in Wall Street group-think to think us out of this mess.  Obama campaigned on change, and the President must accept the fact that everything has changed already.  Our economy is not the same.  This recession is a different animal, and it doesn’t want to die.

Krugman proposes a better solution:

As economic historians can tell you, this is an old story, not that different from dozens of similar crises over the centuries. And there’s a time-honored procedure for dealing with the aftermath of widespread financial failure. It goes like this: the government secures confidence in the system by guaranteeing many (though not necessarily all) bank debts. At the same time, it takes temporary control of truly insolvent banks, in order to clean up their books.

That’s what Sweden did in the early 1990s. It’s also what we ourselves did after the savings and loan debacle of the Reagan years. And there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing now.

If I’m the guy making policy, I’m listening to the guy with the Nobel Prize, not the guy trying to make the same broken clock tick.

Mr. President, it’s time to trust economists.  Pick up the phone and give Paul Krugman a call.

Pittsburg Penguins: Take More Shots on Goal During Powerplays

I know it’s easy for me to say, especially since I don’t play hockey.  But as a fan watching the Pittsburgh Penguins losing 2-0 after two periods against Philadelphia right now, I see the Penguins only took TWO shots on goal during powerplays to Philly’s 5.

Philly is 2-5 on powerplay shots.

It’s just very frustrating to watch the Penguins play so conservatively, waiting, it seems, at times, for Philly to get their defenses in place before making a move on offense.

Turn it on, boys.  And turn it up.

Bring 30 Pieces of Silver for Chicago Parking Meters

Want to park your car for two hours in Chicago?  Bring 28 quarters plus a few more if you need more time.

Carol Marin says the hike in parking fees has caused a mild rebellion among commuters.  Apparently there are quite a few open spots on the streets of Chicago:

At noon in Wicker Park, where Milwaukee Avenue is usually packed with parked cars, there were open meters waiting.

And at 2 p.m. around the Sheraton Hotel on Columbus Drive, a place where normally you can’t crowbar your car into a space, there were at least three or four parking spaces. What’s up with this?

What’s up is that a month ago, when the City of Chicago privatized parking meters, rates were immediately jacked way up, and you now have to feed 28 quarters into the meter to park a car in the Loop for two hours. In exchange for a 75-year lease, the city got $1.2 billion to help plug its budget holes.

$1.2 billion sounds great in the short term.  But what about sustained revenue?  Did Chicago jump for short-term gain and lose long-term revenue in the process?  According to Marin, “parking tickets reap six, seven, even eight times more than what meters bring in.”  If no one parks, then there are no tickets.

The whole purpose of parking meters was as an urban planning tool, used to generate turnover so businesses could see a steady stream of customers who park for a short time, shop and leave, opening spaces for more shoppers.

And there’s the rub: parking meters exist now only to generate revenue.  They’re punishment for shopping.

There must be an army in Chicago writing tickets now.  A friend’s son pulled into a spot last week, but didn’t have any tickets.  He ran into a dry cleaning store for change to feed the meter.  Coming from the store just a few moments later, parking meter enforcement had already found his vehicle.  Now he’s paying dearly for that spot.

Want to go shopping?  Stay in the ‘Burbs.  Better yet, head to the South Suburbs.  The best deals are in the south.  Discover the affordable housing in Park Forest and have dinner at Bixby’s.  Visit Crete for antiques.  Head to Matteson to J.C. Penny’s or any number of other stores.

You can even park for free.

Deny Richie Daley and the LAZ Parking cabal their 30 pieces of silver.

President Obama Apologizes for Special Olympics Remark

President Obama apologized for his remark about the Special Olympics on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno before the episode was even broadcast.

From the New York Times:

Chatting with Jay Leno, the president said he had been practicing at the White House bowling alley and rolled a 129. “It was like the Special Olympics or something,” Mr. Obama said, perhaps also recalling his inept attempt at bowling in Altoona, Pa., during the presidential campaign.

The president called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, from Air Force One on his way back to Washington. “He apologized in a way I think was very moving,” Mr. Shriver said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday. Mr. Shriver said the president sounded “very sincere” in voicing his desire not to add to anyone’s pain.

“Words hurt, words do matter,” added Mr. Shriver, son of the Special Olympics’ founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of President John F. Kennedy, and R. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps.

This is the eternal problem pols have when trying to mix comedy and politics: pols are not commedians.  President Obama’s comedic response is usually–and gracefully–to make self-disparaging remarks.  The safest target, after all, is oneself.  Problems can arise when we reach out for comparisons.

Lesson learned.  The President was wrong.  He admitted it.

We should all make it a point to volunteer for or at least show up and cheer at the Special Olympics the next time they’re in our respective towns.

Conservative Poster Child Joe the Plumber is Horny

Conservatives can’t seem to find the right poster child.  They’re still looking for the right face to steer their ship.

They tried Sarah Palin, who can’t pass up any chance to appear on television, even in front of the slaughter of Thanksgiving turkeys. They flock again and again to Rush Limbaugh, who wants America to fail.

And then there’s Samuel Wurzelbacher, who, for some strange reason goes by the name Joe the Plumber (Not a Joe, not a plumber).  Sam-the-Joe-the-Plumber wants to make money, and lots of it.  He’s desperate for attention from the conservatives, even though he didn’t really support John McCain in the last presidential election.

Joe the Plumber supports Joe the Plumber.  So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that his comments “in the ballroom of Washington’s Grand Hyatt hotel for the Media Research Center’s annual “DisHonors Awards” ceremony designed to bash the dreaded liberal elite media,” according to the Washington Post’s Mary Ann Akers:

The Republican’s Working Man hero Joe the Plumber could barely contain himself last night before a crowd of adoring, media-bashing conservatives.

“God, all this love and everything in the room – I’m horny,” declared Joe, whose real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher.

The particular state of his libido was way too much information, certainly for the Sleuth. But she wasn’t the only slack-jawed person in the room.

The remarks did not go over too well among the apparently un-horny crowd:

“Did Joe the Plumber really just say he’s horny?” “Did you hear Joe say ‘horny’?” “Why is he horny and why is he telling us?”

And those were only the comments overheard at the Sleuth’s table.

Joe was all hot and bothered over the standing ovation he received as he walked on stage to accept accolades from the top liberal media watchdog. Len Greenwood‘s GOP country classic “God Bless the USA” boomed overhead as Joe, wearing blue jeans, a black t-shirt and a flannel shirt unbuttoned to his navel, strolled on stage.

After declaring he was horny, Joe mumbled a few other things about being the “token redneck” and the media loving him, and then sat back down in a sea of conservative luminaries that included G. Gordon Liddy, former Attorney General Ed Meese, radio talk show host Mark Levin, Fox News’ Brit Hume and former House speaker (for half a minute) Bob Livingston.

This is your poster child, far right?