Sole Openly-Gay Candidate to Pull Out of IL Senate Race, Support Giannoulias

Alexi Giannoulias

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is scheduled to get a big boost Sunday when Jacob Meister withdraws from the Democratic primary. Meister is expected to endorse Giannoulias.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Attorney Jacob Meister will pull out of the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Sunday and throw his support to State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Meister said tonight.

“Alexi is well ahead in the polls,’ Meister said. “He’s going be our party’s nominee and I think we need to come together around him.”

At recent debates Meister frequently tore into challenger David Hoffman but had few cross words for Giannoulias.a

But Meister called ‘preposterous” the suggestion that he was a Giannoulias pinch-hitter from the start.

The Sun-Times says Miester is the only openly gay candidate in the race, but Meister says he is satisfied that Giannoulias is committed to the causes Meister supports.

I voted for Alexi. I hope he wins the seat. We need another good, thinking liberal in the United States Senate.

Remember, “Liberal” is a good word, especially in this case. Giannoulias is a banker, and bankers are notoriously conservative … when it comes to money. Good bankers are fiscally conservative. Giannoulias is socially liberal.

And that’s a good mix. Something no Republican understands.

More on my thoughts on today’s Republicans later. I finally have them figured out. Really. Finally.

Vote for Alexi Giannoulias. And then vote for him again in the general election.

More here at the Sun-Times.

Weekly Address: President Obama Pledges to Rein in Budget Deficits (Video and Text)

Washington, D.C.–January 30, 2010.

At this time last year, amidst headlines about banks on the verge of collapse and job losses of 700,000 a month, we received another troubling piece of news about our economy. Our economy was shrinking at an alarming rate – the largest six-month decline in 50 years. Our factories and farms were producing less; our businesses were selling less; and more job losses were on the horizon.

One year later, according to numbers released this past week, this trend has reversed itself. For the past six months, our economy has been growing again. And last quarter, it grew more quickly than at any time in the past six years.

This is a sign of progress. And it’s an affirmation of the difficult decisions we made last year to pull our financial system back from the brink and get our economy moving again.

But when so many people are still struggling – when one in ten Americans still can’t find work, and millions more are working harder and longer for less – our mission isn’t just to grow the economy. It’s to grow jobs for folks who want them, and ensure wages are rising for those who have them. It’s not just about improvements we see in quarterly statistics, but ones people feel in their daily lives – a bigger paycheck; more security; the ability to give your kids a decent shot in life and still have enough to retire one day yourself.

That’s why job creation will be our number one focus in 2010. We’ll put more Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure all across the country. And since the true engines of job creation are America’s businesses, I’ve proposed tax credits to help them hire new workers, raise wages, and invest in new plants and equipment. I also want to eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and help small businesses get the loans they need to open their doors and expand their operations.

But as we work to create jobs, it is critical that we rein in the budget deficits we’ve been accumulating for far too long – deficits that won’t just burden our children and grandchildren, but could damage our markets, drive up our interest rates, and jeopardize our recovery right now.

There are certain core principles our families and businesses follow when they sit down to do their own budgets. They accept that they can’t get everything they want and focus on what they really need. They make tough decisions and sacrifice for their kids. They don’t spend what they don’t have, and they make do with what they’ve got.

It’s time their government did the same. That’s why I’m pleased that the Senate has just restored the pay-as-you-go law that was in place back in the 1990s. It’s no coincidence that we ended that decade with a $236 billion surplus. But then we did away with PAYGO – and we ended the next decade with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Reinstating this law will help get us back on track, ensuring that every time we spend, we find somewhere else to cut.

I’ve also proposed a spending freeze, so that as we increase investments in things we need, like job creation and middle class tax cuts – we cut spending on those we don’t, like tax cuts for oil companies and investment fund managers, and programs that are redundant, obsolete, or simply ineffective. Spending related to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected – and neither will national security – but all other discretionary government programs will.

Finally, I’ve called for a bi-partisan Fiscal Commission – a panel of Democrats and Republicans who would sit down and hammer out concrete deficit-reduction proposals by a certain deadline. Because we’ve heard plenty of talk and a lot of yelling on TV about deficits, and it’s now time to come together and make the painful choices we need to eliminate those deficits.

This past week, 53 Democrats and Republicans voted for this commission in the Senate. But it failed when seven Republicans who had co-sponsored this idea in the first place suddenly decided to vote against it.

Now, it’s one thing to have an honest difference of opinion about something. I will always respect those who take a principled stand for what they believe, even if I disagree with them.

But what I won’t accept is changing positions because it’s good politics. What I won’t accept is opposition for opposition’s sake. We cannot have a serious discussion and take meaningful action to create jobs and control our deficits if politicians just do what’s necessary to win the next election instead of what’s best for the next generation.

I’m ready and eager to work with anyone who’s serious about solving the real problems facing our people and our country. I welcome anyone who comes to the table in good faith to help get our economy moving again and fulfill this country’s promise. That’s why we were elected in the first place. That’s what the American people expect and deserve. And that’s what we must deliver.

Thank you.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Alert: Police Locate Vehicle of Missing Park Forest Woman

From ENEWSPF:

Deputy Chief Mike McNamara said in a statement Friday that the vehicle driven by Dana Hayes, who is missing from her Park Forest home, was located by members of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force in Harvey last night. The vehicle was unoccupied and there were no signs of foul play. However, Ms. Hayes has not contacted her family since Monday morning.

She is considered a missing/endangered person, McNamara said in the statement.

Related: Police and South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force Seek Missing Park Forest Woman

The related story is from eNews Park Forest.

Could ‘Fast Eddie’ Vrdolyak Be Heading for Prison?

From the Chicago Tribune:

Saying the sentencing of former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak to probation for fraud involved "egregious error," the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday reversed the judge who made the controversial decision and took the case away from him.

A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to reverse the sentence handed down last February by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur, a development that could mean Vrdolyak, 71, winds up serving a prison sentence for his role in a rigged Gold Coast real estate deal.

Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison for Vrdolyak, who pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to secretly split a $1.5 million finder’s fee when Rosalind Franklin University sold a building. Corrupt political insider Stuart Levine was on the school’s real estate committee and conspired with Vrdolyak to steer the sale to a developer that would pay the hidden fee.

The panel’s decision didn’t come as a surprise after influential Judge Richard Posner at oral argument last month signaled he had serious issues with Vrdolyak’s sentence of five years’ probation. At the time, Posner even asked the prosecution if it wanted a different judge to re-sentence Vrdolyak, saying, "You’re not going to get anywhere with Judge Shadur, because he’s made up his mind."

Friday’s sharply worded opinion, written by Posner, took Shadur to task for what were described as mistakes and suggested Vrdolyak’s sentence was too lenient.

Years ago, I shared a classroom with Ed Vrdolyak’s son at the University of Notre Dame. I never got to know the young lad — he was my age — but I remember the day the lad told the professor, Samuel Shapiro, his name, and I remember Dr. Shapiro’s reaction.

He was shocked. And probably changed his lecture on the spot.

It would appear that Dad, "Fast-Eddie" Vrdolyak, may be facing some prison time.

I’ll be watching this one closely.

Should a 12-Year-Old Child Face Porn Charges for Sexting?

There’s a legal situation brewing in Northwest Indiana that should give us all pause regarding the purpose of the law.

First, from the Sun-Times:

A 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl from Northwest Indiana are accused of "sexting" each other, officials said.

Each could be charged with child exploitation and possession of child pornography for allegedly sending nude photos of themselves over their cell phones, officials said.

Earlier today, I wrote about 12-year-old Jordan Brown who was 11 when he was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide for the shotgun shooting of Kenzie Houk, 26, and her unborn child in February. As of this writing, Judge Dominick Motto has not yet ruled on whether Jordan will be tried as an adult or a juvenile. Now, we have two young children possibly being charged with child exploitation and possession of child pornography for allegedly sending nude photos of themselves over their cell phones.

What the hell are we doing? Is the purpose of law to punish, or to assist society to move to a higher place? A better place?

I know the two cases are very different. On the one hand, we have a child charged as an adult in a double homicide case. On the other hand, we have two kids sending nude pictures of themselves over their cell phones. However, in both cases, we have the potential for very adult charges against children.

Ask yourself this: if the person arrested for "sexting" nude pictures of 12 and 13-year-old children was 50, would you be more angry at the alleged murderer (if he was an adult), or the guy or gal sending JPEGs of children?

I would be furious with the 50-year-old dude sending out pics of kids. Given the number of murders committed by adults in the Chicagoland area every year, I’m afraid to say, I don’t know if I would even read that story. That’s not necessarily right. That’s just where I am, I guess.

What is the purpose of our legal system? Is it better to punish a child — a child — for life, or should we help that child move to responsible adulthood? Would you want your child charged with pornography for doing something stupid children might do because we give them the phones, and therefore the means, to do so? What would you have done with that technology as a 12-year-old? How responsible would you have been?

Do we really want a legal system that forces our children — our children — to become registered sex offenders for life … at age 12?

Pennsylvania State Sen. John Eichelberger Introduces Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

From the Philadelphia Gay News:

About eight months after he pledged to introduce a bill that would institute a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution, Pennsylvania Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30th Dist.) has made good on his promise.

SB 707, which Eichelberger introduced Jan. 26, would add to the Pennsylvania Constitution the language: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid and recognized as marriage.”

Eichelberger announced his intention to spearhead such an initiative last May, and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17th Dist.) shortly thereafter introduced a measure that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage in the Keystone State.

To amend the constitution, both chambers of the state legislature would have to pass the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment in two consecutive sessions before the question is posed to voters.

I don’t get it at all. Gays and Lesbians want to do one of the most conservative things possible: get married.

Get over.

More here.

Jordan Brown, 12, A Child Accused of Murder, May Be Charged As An Adult

Jordan Brown is a 12-year-old child accused of murder. A Pennsylvania judge is expected to rule today on whether the juvenile will be tried as an adult.

From WTAE Pittsburgh:

Judge Dominick Motto will hear arguments over whether Jordan Brown should be tried as an adult or a juvenile for allegedly killing his father’s pregnant fiancée.

Prosecutors said Brown, who was 11 at the time, shot and killed 26-year-old Kenzie Houk and her unborn baby as she lay sleeping in her Wampum home last February.

If tried as a juvenile, the court’s jurisdiction would end when Brown turns 21 and he would be released.If Brown is tried as an adult, he would face life in prison.

Brown has been charged with one adult count of criminal homicide and is being held without bail in a juvenile facility.

How this child got his hands on a loaded weapon is another matter entirely.

I’ve written about this before. Jordan Brown is a child. He should be charged as a juvenile.

Virginia School District Pulls Anne Frank’s Diary Over ‘Vagina’ Passage

You have got to be kidding.

From the Washington Post:

This isn’t the first time that a classic book has been pulled off a library shelf because a parent didn’t want their darling child to read it, but it is equally obscene every time it happens.

In Culpeper County Public Schools, a version of the “Diary of A Young Girl,” by Anne Frank, was just removed from schools because a parent complained about graphic sexual language, according to the Star Exponent.

Anne Frank wrote her memoir of her life from June 12, 1942 until Aug. 1, 1944, while her family was in hiding from the Nazis during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. She was caught by the Nazis and thrown into concentration camps, where she died of typhus shortly before the camp she was in was liberated by British troops in 1945.

The book was originally published in 1947 by her father, who retrieved the diary after the war. Later more of her entries from the period were found and authenticated and a fuller version was later published.

That is the one that was challenged in Culpeper, according to the Star Exponent, which quoted Jim Allen, director of instruction for the school system, saying, “What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. So we listened to the parent and we pulled it.”

Ever think your vote doesn’t count? Ever wonder if one person can make a difference?

What about thousands of voices protesting this horribly ridiculous decision?

I can’t believe the district capitulated to one parent.

Park Forest Police Seek Missing Woman

Dana Hayes

Dana Hayes

Park Forest, IL– The Park Forest Police Department is attempting to learn the whereabouts of Dana Hayes, who has been missing from her Park Forest home since Monday, January 25, 2010, police said Thursday afternoon. According to her family, Ms. Hayes dropped her son off at Rich East High School Monday morning but never arrived at her place of employment. The license plates on her car were run by the South Holland Police on the morning of January 25, but neither she nor the car has been seen since.

The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is assisting in the search for Ms. Hayes, a rare move in a missing person’s case, according to police.

According to Ms. Hayes family, it is totally out of character for her to be gone from home and not notify her son or other family members, or to not appear at work.

Ms. Hayes is described as an African American 35-year-old female, 5’2” tall, weighing 135 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Her car is a 2005 silver Kia Spectra four door, Illinois license plate A273099. The vehicle has a Masonic placard with the letters OES on the trunk lid.

The Park Forest Police Department is asking anyone who might have information on Ms. Hayes or her vehicle to contact Detective Brian Rzyski at 708-748-1309, or Deputy Chief Mike McNamara at 708-748-8390.

Source: PFPD

Justice Samuel Alito Says ‘Not True’ During State Of The Union When Prez Calls Out SCOTUS

Watch Justice Samuel Alito’s lips. He’s sitting on the far left (no pun intended) behind Cheif Justice John Roberts. Justice Alito says, "Not true," when President Obama shares his reservations about the latest Supreme Court ruling regarding corporate spending in elections.

Watch the video closely.