Daily archives: February 1st, 2010

17-Year-Old Ramone Washington Shot By Coward In West Humboldt Park

From the Chicago Tribune :

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed this afternoon in the city’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood,Chicago police said.

Police believe the teen’s killers chased him down before shooting him, authorities said.

Killed was Ramone Washington, of the 700 block of South Karlov Avenue, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A neighbor called police to report screaming followed by shooting near the 1100 block of North Keystone Avenue just after 1:40 p.m., police said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ramone Washington.

Read more here.

Turns Out President Obama Never Forgot His Promise to Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

gay soldiers

From the New York Times:

President Obama and top Pentagon officials met repeatedly over the past year about repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the law that bans openly gay members of the military.

But it was in Oval Office strategy sessions to review court cases challenging the ban — ones that could reach the Supreme Court — that Mr. Obama faced the fact that if he did not change the policy, his administration would be forced to defend publicly the constitutionality of a law he had long opposed.

As a participant recounted one of the sessions, Mr. Obama told Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, that the law was “just wrong.” Mr. Obama told them, the participant said, that he had delayed acting on repeal because the military was stretched in two wars and he did not want another polarizing debate in 2009 to distract from his health care fight.

But in 2010, he told them, this would be a priority. He got no objections.

On Tuesday, in the first Congressional hearing on the issue in 17 years, Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen will unveil the Pentagon’s initial plans for carrying out a repeal, which requires an act of Congress. Gay rights leaders say they expect Mr. Gates to announce in the interim that the Defense Department will not take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law. Pentagon officials had no comment.

Gay rights groups are calling the hearing historic even as they question how quickly the administration is prepared to act. But Republicans are already signaling that they are not eager to take up the issue.

I hope that our friends in these gay rights groups start to understand that the president was actually working on repealing the ban on gays in the military almost non-stop since taking office, meeting "repeatedly" with top Pentagon officials, in addition to talking about the wars the previous president started.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s more involved in being President of the United States than viewing everything through the lenses of one issue?

The ban should be repealed, and I hope it is soon.

I’m near the end of Frank Schaeffer’s Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism). Schaeffer’s son John is a United States Marine. Near the end of the book, Frank writes a very compelling and stirring account of the boot camp process where one becomes a Marine. I was moved today as I read it, while walking on a treadmill for two miles. I plan on finding Schaeffer’s Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the U.S. Marine Corps.

When I was a child (to paraphrase St. Paul), I did not trust the military. Now that I am a man, I have an incredible respect for those who serve this country in uniform. Some liberals really go overboard slamming the military, and they should not. These men and women learn to move beyond preoccupation with the self. They think of the other, the platoon, the United States of America, before they think of themselves. Those in uniform are worthy of our respect and support.

Gays and lesbians are more than capable of serving openly, thinking of others first, the platoon, the United States of America, before they think of themselves. Gay and lesbian soldiers serve openly in the military of other countries every day.

Gay and lesbian soldiers have been serving the United States of America in the military for centuries. Let them finally and proudly serve openly.

Tearing Down the Reagan Myth

Ronald Reagan statue

From Philly.com:

This Friday marks the 99th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. You’re going to be hearing a lot about the Gipper this week, and you’re going to be hearing a lot about him for the next 12 months. Already, a Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission — signed into law by President Obama last June, at a ceremony attended by Nancy Reagan — is busy planning a slew of Feb. 6, 2011, events that may take the nation one step closer toward Reagan’s political canonization. Meanwhile, day in and day out, the legacy of the 40th president still looms large over the national conversation, some 21 years after he left the Oval Office and nearly six years after his death — thanks in part to a deliberate campaign of distortion by modern conservatives, a Reagan myth has been used to justify disastrous spending policies at home and disastrous militarism abroad .

This week also marks the new paperback release of my book, now slightly retitled: "Tear Down This Myth: The Right Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy." When I was working on the book in 2008 in preparation for the original hardcover version, I did worry somewhat whether the likely election of a center-left Democratic president would render as moot the power of the Reagan myth. As it turned out, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the arrival of a large Democratic majority in Congress instead showed the limits of government in the face of this powerful philosophy that is loosely based on Reagan’s 1980s presidency but distorts or exaggerates the reality of much of what happened in those years.

The Reagan banner as carried by today’s conservatives involves deep and unrelenting mistrust of the government to solve any problems, even as crises from joblessness and unsound fiscal policies and a lack of a serious approach to energy and global warming fester from a lack of… problem solving. Reagan’s predecessor, Jimmy Carter, captured the White House in the election after Watergate by promising "a government as good as the people," but when Carter stumbled for a host of reasons, Reagan was elected with a much different message. In his 1981 inauguration, he said: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems — government is the problem."

Little remembered is that in the same speech, Reagan also said: "Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back." But is the first message — that there is no government solution to any problem, no matter how complex — that has been hammered home by the powerful right-wing infrastructure, most notably talk radio and now the highly rated Fox News Channel on TV, that has endured and grown since Reagan’s tenure in office.

More here.

Buy Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future here.

eNews Park Forest Editors Endorse John C. Griffin for Judge in the 15th Subcircuit


Our pick for judge in the 15th Subcircuit, Phelan vacancy, is Judge John C. Griffin of Palos Heights. Griffin has four opponents, and was appointed to the bench in 2008. He sits in the Chancery Division.

Judge Griffin is a true Democrat. One of his opponents in the Democratic Primary is a life-long Republican who is seeking election in 2010 as a Democrat. This opponent has stated that he recognizes that it’s impossible to be elected from this region as a Republican. This opponent has been Republican supervisor in Bloom Township for several years (having defeated now State Senator Toi Hutchinson when she ran as the Democratic candidate for supervisor in 2005).

When endorsing judges, we rely on the experts, especially experts who belong to bar associations.

The Chicago Council of Lawyers found Judge Griffin qualified, writing:

Judge Griffin was admitted to practice in 1976. For 31 years he was in private practice
primarily handling real estate, zoning and development-related matters. In March 2008, he was
appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to a judicial vacancy. He has served in Traffic Court
and currently presides over mortgage foreclosure matters in the Foreclosure/Mechanic’s Lien
Section. Judge Griffin is reported to have good legal ability and an excellent temperament. He
had a good reputation as a hard-working and knowledgeable attorney and is praised for his
courtroom management skills and for being well-prepared. The Council finds him Qualified for
the Circuit Court.

In addition, Judge Griffin has been found qualified or recommended (per each organization’s policies) by all associations performing review:

  • The Chicago Bar Association – Qualified
  • Illinois State Bar Association – Qualified
  • Cook County Bar Association – Recommended
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers – Qualified
  • Women’s Bar Association of Illinois – Recommended
  • Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago – Recommended
  • Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois – Highly Qualified
  • The Decalogue Society of Lawyers – Recommended
  • Asian American Bar Association – Recommended
  • Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois – Recommended
  • Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. – Recommended

We give Judge John C. Griffin our highest recommendation, and encourage all in the 15th Subcircuit to vote for him.

I’m quoting the entire endorsement — with permission — but I want to focus on one point in particular.

What, indeed is a Democrat? What, indeed, is a Republican?

One of John Griffin’s opponents was a Republican who ran as a Republican against Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr.; and he was the unsuccessful Republican candidate against Democratic Judge Anna Demacopoulos in 2008.

Judge Griffin is a true, life-long Democrat, a true member of the Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama. I urge you to vote for John C. Griffin to fill the 15th Subcircuit judicial vacancy. Besides all of those Democratic credentials, I have met with John Griffin several times. He’s an ethical person. Ethics are crucial in a judge. I sense an incredible sincerity when I speak with John.

Vote for Judge John C. Griffin. He deserves nomination to be the Democratic party’s candidate in the November election.