Friday, May 31, 2013

John Cullerton just stuck it to the entire State of Illinois

Madigan’s pension-reform package goes down in flames
Updated: May 31, 2013 2:24AM
SPRINGFIELD — A pension-reform package crafted by House Speaker Michael Madigan went down to spectacular defeat in the state Senate Thursday, thrusting the search for a solution to Illinois’ nearly $100 million pension crisis into legislative chaos.
The bill’s demise came as the Democratic-led House and Senate faced a scheduled midnight Friday adjournment with no apparent breakthroughs on the spring legislative session’s biggest issues: pension reform, legalization of same-sex marriage, allowing people to carry concealed weapons and authorization for casinos in Chicago, the south suburbs and Lake County.
With those issues seemingly mired in legislative tar, the House approved a sprawling economic-development package that would fund a new DePaul University basketball arena near McCormick Place and possibly jumpstart a south-suburban airport at Peotone. That measure, pushed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and backed by Gov. Pat Quinn, now moves to the Senate.
But the 16-42 Senate vote on pension legislation opposed by the state’s largest public-sector unions unleashed a display of apparent bitterness from Madigan (D- Chicago) that seemingly targeted Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) for not turning the tide in favor of the pension package.
“It’s a lack of leadership,” Madigan told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Quinn, a supporter of the bill, also weighed in on the vote.
“The people of Illinois were let down tonight,” the governor said.
The breathtaking but expected defeat of Madigan’s pension-reform bill came as Cullerton worked to demolish the legislation, which decreased annual cost-of-living increases for retirees, hiked the retirement age and required higher employee contributions for fewer benefits.
Cullerton’s caucus and a smattering of Republicans voted down the measure, driven by constitutional questions and anger at Madigan’s unwillingness to allow a House vote on a more generous pension package favored by unions and that passed the Senate.
“Well, I’m sure he’s disappointed. He worked real hard to pass this bill. He barely passed it, 62 votes,” Cullerton said of Madigan, when asked to respond to the speaker’s barb. “And we have a different caucus. And it just didn’t have the support.”
Is pension reform dead?
“I’m not going to say that yet,” Cullerton said. “We still have a day left.”

With the fate sealed on Madigan’s pension plan, the House narrowly voted 60-55 to pass a comparatively minor pension bill that would shift the state’s burden for funding the pensions of university and community college employees to the institutions that employ them. That now moves to the Senate.
Meanwhile, on the bid to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, the day was filled with tension and stops and starts as gay and lesbian couples, many with children, crowded the Capitol, expecting a House vote on the legislation.
But as has been the case since the Senate’s February passage of the bill, Thursday came and went without a vote on the legislation carried by state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), whose efforts to build a 60-vote majority in the House are running out of time.
Asked why his bill wasn’t called for a vote Thursday, Harris said, “We did a lot of other things today. We have a lot of work to get through.”
Harris told the Sun-Times that his roll call has shifted “in a good way” since Thursday and that he is committed to running the legislation Friday — a vote he still believes is winnable.
“When I put that up on the board, it will go,” Harris said. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pat Quinn is the "Walking Dead"

The polling firm We Ask America asked 1,057 likely Illinois voters to weigh in on Gov. Pat Quinn’s performance.
The results are not good: 62 percent of respondents disapprove of Quinn's performance as governor. 
When the figures are broken down along gender lines, 60 percent of women disapprove and 65 percent of men disapprove.  
The numbers differ geographically. In Chicago only 41 percent disapprove, however 77 percent of downstate respondents disapprove.   
All these upside down numbers lead the We Ask America pollsters to surmise that some political prognosticators will describe Quinn as the "Walking Dead."

The sooner we get him out, the sooner Illinois will get better. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Scam

Travelers at O'Hare and Midway airport have access to free Wi-Fi, but only a few dozen websites.

The Chicago Department of Aviation and Boingo, the airports' Wi-Fi provider, have inked a deal that allows free access to more than 30 websites offering news, weather, shopping, banking and travel information. Visitors can access these sites through a "Good Stuff" portal.

Free websites include those for American, United, Delta and Southwest Airlines, but not some international carriers that operate out of O'Hare. Wi-Fi access is free to Chicago-based but not larger travel site Popular social media sites such as Facebook or email access are also excluded.

Fliers pay $6.95 a day for full Internet access at both Chicago airports, and the 24-hour pass can be used at select airports in the U.S. and overseas during that period.

U.S. airports are all over the map when on Wi-Fi, with costs and speeds varying widely. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport, the only one in the country busier than O'Hare, has a set-up similar to Chicago's new model. Passengers get handful of sites free and pay $4.95 to get full access.
Airport Internet speeds range from those that allow one to do little more than check email to downloading TV shows or movies. Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino said in a statement that O'Hare and Midway have one of the fastest Wi-Fi networks in the country. | Twitter: @SamWillTravel

Maybe someone should take a closer look at the Boingo contract.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ray Manzarek R.I.P.

Ray Manzarek grew up on the South Side taking piano lessons and was a graduate of Saint Rita High School, he went on to help form the legendary rock group the Doors.
Manzarek died on May 20 at the age of 74 after battling bile duct cancer, according to the New York Times.
As a member of a band whose sound would help define the late 1960s, Manzarek may be best known for his soaring organ riffs that became an indelible aspect of the band's sound.
It was a sound influenced by his classical training, according to the Times.
"The quasi-Baroque introduction Mr. Manzarek brought to the Doors’ 1967 single “Light My Fire“ . . . helped make it a million-seller. Along with classical music, Mr. Manzarek also drew on jazz, R&B, cabaret and ragtime. His main instrument was the Vox Continental electric organ, which he claimed to have chosen, Mr. Vitorino said, because it was “easy to carry.”
After Saint Rita, he went on to graduate from DePaul University and attended film school at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In a video interview recorded with L Studio in 2009 he talked about the power of making music.
"You don't make music for immortality, you make music for the moment," Manzarek said. "For capturing the sheer joy of being alive on planet Earth."
He is survived by a wife, son and three grandchildren

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thunderstorms coming our way.

 I will keep this map up until the threats have passed. 

Severe Weather Threat Will Continue Sunday Across Much of the Central U.S.

Another round of severe thunderstorms is forecast for parts of the central U.S. today into tonight. The area of greatest risk extends from central Okla. into eastern Kan., western Mo. and southeast Neb. where very large hail and a few strong tornadoes are possible. If you live in these areas, please monitor the latest forecast, and heed any watches or warnings that may be issued.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vito and Nick's ranked #5 in the country.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -
We all know Chicago has great pizza and now a survey of the country's food experts proves it.
Editors at the website "The Daily Meal" put together a panel of food critics and chefs to sort through 140 great pizza joints. Three of the top ten restaurants are in Chicago.
Pizano's made the number 4 spot, Vito and Nick's came in at number 5, and Gino's snagged number 8.
The Daily Meal ranked Di Fara, a pizza place in Brooklyn, as number one.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dead Trees

The spring has revealed dead ash trees (hundreds of them) throughout Beverly and Mt. Greenwood.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


IRS targeting of conservative groups intolerable - Obama

The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, 22 March 2013The treasury department's inspector general will release a report on the matter this week

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US President Barack Obama has said the federal tax agency's targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny was "intolerable and inexcusable".
He said those who carried out the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) actions would be held responsible.
Mr Obama spoke after a treasury department report placed the blame on "ineffective management" at the agency.
The US attorney general earlier ordered an FBI inquiry into the IRS conduct before the 2012 presidential election.
Eric Holder told a news conference that agents would determine if any laws had been broken.
The actions of tax officers, if not criminal, were "certainly outrageous and unacceptable", Mr Holder added.
'Inappropriate criteria'
The IRS had used key words such as "Tea Party" and "Patriot" to subject applications by groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
From what we know so far this appears to be an A-grade scandal - a shocking abuse of power with apparently political motives. President Obama says he's outraged - and has moved quickly to make it clear he knew nothing about it.
It is true that plenty of groups claim to be non-political when most sensible people would say that politics is their main purpose. But on the evidence so far, it seems only right-wing groups were targeted - and more bizarrely still only small local ones, not the huge lobby groups.
This affair, along with the justice department's raid on the Associated Press, is likely to have a political impact. Conservative groups have long claimed an overbearing administration is targeting their freedoms and that abuses of power are ignored by a complacent media. The events of this week will strengthen their belief that someone is out to get them.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Obama said in a statement on the treasury department's investigation: "The report's findings are intolerable and inexcusable.
"The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test."
He spoke as a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report found that senior IRS officials had told inspectors the decision to focus on Tea Party and other groups based upon their names or policy positions was not influenced by any individual or organisation outside the agency.
But it found managers had allowed "inappropriate criteria" to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, resulting in "substantial delays" in processing applications for tax-exempt status, and requests for "unnecessary information", such as lists of past and future donors.
Of the 296 total applications reviewed by TIGTA, 108 were approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicants, and 160 were still open, the report said.
In response, the acting IRS Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities, Joseph Grant, said: "We believe the front line career employees that made the decisions acted out of a desire for efficiency and not out of any political or partisan view point."
'Targeting political enemies'
Mr Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, said earlier that no-one at the White House had known about the matter until lawyers were told several weeks ago TIGTA would publish a report.

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This is big brother come to life”
Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin
At least three Congressional committees are planning hearings into the matter.
The House Ways and Means committee will hold a hearing on Friday. The Senate finance and investigations committees have also said they will hold hearings.
"This was a targeting of the president's political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn't discovered until afterwards," senior Republican Congressman Darrell Issa told CBS on Tuesday.
Two high-profile Republican governors called on President Obama to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether any laws were broken.
"This is big brother come to life and a witch hunt to prevent Americans from exercising their first amendment [free speech] rights," Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin wrote.
Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, conservative groups complained to the IRS and to members of Congress that their applications for tax-exempt status were being held up.
Some groups have said they were asked to provide lists of donors and volunteers, statements of their activities, and lists of legislators they had contacted.

Monday, May 13, 2013

I wonder, how high does this go?

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is the U.S. really in a state of decline?

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It is eerie to walk so close to a weapon of mass destruction.
The B-52 bomber is one of the ultimate expressions of American power. If the president decides to drop a nuclear bomb, this is the sort of aircraft that would do it.
I am careful not to step over the red line around the plane. A sign painted on the ground warns lethal force can be used against those who cross it without authorisation.
I've come to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, filming for the new BBC One programme The Editors.
The programme aims to get the BBC's on-air editors to explore - and hopefully answer - a big question. My chosen subject is the decline of American power.
There's little evidence of it at the base, where the sign above the gate reads: "Only the best come North".
An old Minute Man missile stands to one side of the entrance.
The road names here are a testimony to the base's purpose - Ballistic Avenue and Cruise Missile Lane. It is home to two arms of America's nuclear strike force, the Fifth Bomb Wing - known as the Warbirds - and the 91st missile wing, the Rough Riders.
Signs at Minor Air Force Base
As I talk to a group of very normal, bright and cheerful men and women from both units, I am awed by the potential nature of their job.
I joke that when things are really stressful and going very wrong, some people in my business say: "It's only television." They can hardly say: "It's only nuclear war."
As well as confidence in their routine and their abilities, they have faith in the nature of American power. They all stress that their job is deterrence. They hope these weapons will never be used.
But I put it to Capt Kim Brown that she would be the one to pull the lever, to drop the bomb.

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We are still a good Christian country... I have faith in the President and all my leadership”
Chris DuffAir Force captain
"As the offence team we are responsible for weapons activity... dropping the right type of weapon on the right type of target," she says.
"That's quite a responsibility," I say.
"It is," she replies. "But it's what my nation asks me to do. It's my job, and I trust those above me that they are well-informed to make those decisions."
I ask Capt Chris Duff about the responsibility.
"It is one I embrace. It is what I signed up to do," he says. "If it is called upon I will do it."
He is confident America acts for good in the world.
"The US obviously spreads democracy throughout the world, it's been proven to do that," he says.
"We are still a good Christian country. I am a Christian and it is founded on Christian morals. I have faith in the president and all my leadership."
Capt Duff was born in Liverpool and his parents were English. He chose to become an American. Does he think his adopted home is as great as it once was?
"I'd say yes," he answers. "This jet has been around for 50 years. It is still capable of reaching out and touching anyone in the world at anytime, should the need arise."
Decline paranoia?
Not everyone back east is so confident. In the four years I have been based in Washington DC, there have been a flood of books and articles on the decline of American power.
Perhaps Americans fretting about their place in the world is nothing new. There was the "Sputnik moment" in 1957 when the US thought there was firm evidence that it was being out-stripped by the Soviet Union. There wasthe fear of Japanese economic dominance in the 1980s.

The Editors

Watch Mark Mardell's report from North Dakota as part of an episode of The Editors presented from Washington on BBC1 at 23:25 BST on Monday
My colleague Kim Ghattas, in her book The Secretary, highlights this quote from Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit.
"Martin knew nothing about America, or he would have known perfectly well that if its individual citizens, to a man, are to be believed, it always IS depressed, and always IS stagnated, and always IS at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise; though as a body they are ready to make oath upon the Evangelists at any hour of the day or night, that it is the most thriving and prosperous of all countries on the habitable globe."
But this time it is different. There can be no doubt America is in relative decline. Its economic and diplomatic power are not what they were. And there is no doubt it bothers many Americans.
For a while, everything was bigger in America - from skyscrapers to the sky, from the dream to the nightmares. The manifest destiny of expansion to the West perhaps gave rise to the illusion the horizon was endless.
But there are others with new frontiers now, and America's world is shrinking. The biggest economy in the world now has the biggest debt in the world.
This plays into an odd insecurity - in a country famously ignorant about abroad there is a curious stress on the very word America: American idols, American heroes, American dreams.
For it is a young country, still creating itself, reassuring itself that it is special, indispensible. Those who are aware of it may be hurt that they are not loved - and that hurt is most easily assuaged with bombast and swagger.
Belief in the notion of decline can be encouraged by both political parties, even as they trumpet America's superiority.

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By around 40 AD a canny Roman might have predicted the Empire's decline. But it took another 400 years to fall”
The Democrats believe America is falling behind in economic terms because of a refusal to invest in the infrastructure - and it really is crumbling; in some places it feels more like the developing world than Europe.
They would launch a taxpayer-funded crusade against decline, against poor education, a drive to create more talented graduates and invest in the technology of the future. That is one vision.
The Republicans' case is perhaps more interesting, more romantic, and more specifically American, although not necessary more true.
They warn America is growing away from its constitutional roots, doomed to decline by debt and outsized government.
In this vision, it can only save itself by being true to its destiny. It must want to be not only a power, but the power in the world, assertive, a leader, and if necessary a warrior nation once more.
Shifting power
But in large measure, the reality of decline that it is part of a huge historical re-balancing act - something we acknowledge in words like "globalisation" or "Brics", while often ducking just how profoundly the world is changing.
The model we in the West grew up with - and our great-grandfather's parents grew up with too - turns out not to be immutable.
Remember, wealth and power were pretty evenly distributed in the world until around the 16th Century. The rise of the British and other European empires, with their technological and ultimately military superiority, threw the world out of joint.
The US was heir to that, with the added power and zest of its expansion. In two world wars American intervention was decisive. Without its political commitment much of Europe would have been behind the Iron Curtain, and arguably the Cold War would have been lost.
At the same time a dream was coming true in the US: prosperity that spread to a huge middle class.
It is important not to be too rosy-eyed about this; poverty and discrimination were also present on a monumental scale. But it led many Americans to see themselves as the end product of Western democracy.
Perhaps they were.
Now the world is rebalancing - power and wealth will become more evenly distributed across countries. So yes, China will rival the US, and so will others.
But let no-one mistake how far above the rest of the world the US has risen.
The new 'Wild West'
It would take a lot - a catastrophic event - to dent the most powerful military the world has ever known - especially when the US spends more on its military than the next 12 big spenders. That's more than China, Russia, the UK, Japan, France, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Australia added together.
It takes time for that sort of power to erode.
But military might does not stand alone. China's Chairman Mao said that power grows from the barrel of a gun, but guns cost money - power perhaps grows from a fistful of dollars.
And the American economy too has felt severe shocks recently. It will probably not remain the biggest economy in the world - some predict China will overtake it in three years' time.
Oil derricks at BakkenThe Bakken oil field has fuelled a new boom town
I drive on, through the land that was the Old Wild West.
I am sure that it was in part that sense of spreading across a huge continent, the possibility of seemingly endless expansion, that gave America the feeling that there were always new frontiers to conquer.
Perhaps the daunting climate and the constant attacks by those who originally lived on this land heightened a sense that the world was a hostile place that had be wrestled into submission, that justice was rough or not at all, that violence was the answer, that when the chips came down you were on your own as well.
Now horizons and old certainties are shrinking.
But much of North Dakota is still empty, and it still feels like the barrens.
Williston seems like a gold-rush town. It is the base for the exploration of the Bakken oil field, the biggest in the US. It has been made possible because of developments in fracking - the technology that uses pressurised water to pulverise the rocks and force them to yield their treasure of oil and gas.
The town has quadrupled in size recently. After travelling for hours on nearly empty roads it is a shock to be hemmed in by huge trucks thundering past on every side.
Everywhere signs flash "For hire". Ramshackle buildings look as if they have sprung up overnight, offering BBQ or a place to stay.
Local legend says it cost more to rent a house here than it does in Manhattan. The state has the lowest unemployment in America.
Kathy Neset"America's day is still coming," says oil industry consultant Kathy Neset
"If you can't find a job here there's something wrong with you," a truck driver tells me, sitting high in his cab about to deliver the special liquid that drives the fracking process.
On the edge of town there are "man camps". They have been formally renamed "crew camps" in the interests of equality, but the new name hasn't stuck.
Hastily constructed to house all the transient workers, they don't feel like Dodge. They are rather nice, spotlessly clean with neat rooms like student dorms. But they are testimony to the fact there is money to be made here.
The source of this newfound wealth is celebrated in the jewellers on Main Street. The window is full of pen holders, desk clocks and ornaments, in gold, all in the shape of oil derricks.
The 'next frontier'
Fracking is hugely controversial, both for its impact on the local environment and CO2 emissions. But it is here to stay, and it makes a real difference to America's future.
The projections are that the US will be energy independent by 2020. All that cheap energy is already having an impact, one of the factors behind the return of industry to the country.
Standing next to huge "nodding donkeys" that suck the oil from the earth, I talk to Kathy Neset, who has worked in the industry since the 1980s as a consultant. She's a geologist by training.
"These wells right here are producing something like 800 to 1,000 barrels a day, for each one," she tells me.
"That oil is about two miles under our feet and I anticipate it will last for another 20 to 30 years. That is our energy security. "
She thinks this is evidence of America's future:
"I think our country is going up, up, up. The potential is shown right here in North Dakota."
But hasn't America, like the British Empire, like the Greeks, had its day?
"America's day is still coming," she insists. "We are on the upswing. And this is a perfect example of how American ingenuity is taking us on to the next frontier."
"We continue to reinvent ourselves... We have a new frontier, this oilfield, but we would be very short-sighted if we said this is the best we can do. There are more frontiers."
There will be many Americans who agree that their country has an endless appetite to pick itself up, dust itself down and reinvent itself.
Mark Mardell in North Dakota
At the end of my journey I find myself unable to give a straightforward "yes" or "no", as the programme would like.
Instead I have a series of reflections on the decline of America.
There can be no doubt the "rise of the rest" will make America shake on its pedestal, but whether it knocks it off is up to Americans themselves, and whether they can adapt to a new status, a somewhat lower place on the greasy pole of world power.
The colossus will no longer effortlessly bestride the world; that does not mean it will not stand tall.
They should not underestimate the importance of soft power. All over the world granddads and infants, jihadists and dictators, wear jeans, America's off-duty dress of choice.
That may sound trite, but the fact the world increasingly looks like America is important. Rock and rap, the English language and Hollywood and still dominate popular culture.
Those defenders of America who attack knee-jerk anti-Americanism are rather missing the point. Those all over the world who might say they are anti-American don't hate Jimi Hendrix and Woodie Guthrie, Levis and denim, Andy Warhol and Jack Kerouac.
They don't, usually, hate freedom or democracy, but a certain cynical exercise of America power sheltering behind those values.
It is important to remember America is still a very young country, with very bright dreams. It's a teenager, admiring its muscles, throwing tantrums, amazed and scared by the wider world.
It is still wondering what it will be when it grows up, still hoping for greatness. But uncertain of its identify, asking itself profound questions about the way it is changing.
Rio de Janiero and ShanghaiWill the rise of countries like Brazil (left) and China dent the US' standing?
Is it a melting pot of immigrants from many lands, some unwilling, where Korean and black and Hispanic culture is celebrated every bit as an English or German heritage?
Or should newcomers, bring no more than a few folk songs from their old home, and squeeze into a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant definition of what it is to be American?
Should America lead the world, from the front, not frightened to right perceived wrongs all over the globe? Or should it, as President Obama wants, be cautious in the exercise of power, sensitive to the feelings of others, willing the right thing, not demanding it?
Then there is the time scale.
Decline can be a long time coming and soft power can echo down the centuries. But often greatness does not endure.
We have all but forgotten the Medes. Carthage is unmourned. And who has heard of the Aksum empire?
But then there is Rome.
By around 40 AD a canny Roman might have predicted the Empire's decline. But it took another 400 years to fall, and it was more than another 1,000 years beyond that before another empire grew as mighty.
In 2,000 years could English be a dead language, used only in liturgy, but still studied in schools? More importantly will American values, often honoured in the breach nowadays, have transformed the world into a place where democracy and freedom of speech are unquestioned values?
Then America would have been mighty indeed.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


The place has been reopened for a few weeks now. The food is great. 

Format Change

Due to the amount of spam I am getting, I have been forced to make a slight change in format. For now on, if you want to post a comment, you will also have to type a word identification. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Courage or Mental Illness?

As most of the nation now knows, NBA player Jason Collins recently announced in a splashy Sports Illustrated article that he is homosexual, an announcement characterized by White House Spokesman Jay Carney as courageous.

After President Barack Obama had concluded a press conference and left the lectern, a reporter asked a question about Jason Collins. Obama uncharacteristically returned to the lectern to say that he “ couldn’t be prouder” of Jason Collins for announcing he is homosexual. What a dispiriting time and place this is that the president of this great but declining nation can’t think of any action that a professional athlete could do to make him “prouder” than having him announce he’s sexually attracted to men. And what a terrible message both men have sent to our nation’s children.

The First Lady of our declining nation then announced that she’s “got Collins’ back,” which raises the question, from what might she need to protect Collins? From the gushing mainstream press? From the rhapsodic Hollywood elite who suffer from an astonishing dearth of philosophical diversity (and depth) on homosexuality?
Oh, wait, it must be those intimidating pastors, priests, theologians, philosophers, and other conservative scholars writing erudite papers on the nature and morality of homosexuality and marriage that no one reads who pose a threat to Collins. Collins can breathe easier knowing that fit-as-a-fiddle Michelle Obama will defend him against those brainiac bullies with her uber-buff arms.

Like so many other words manipulated by the Left, “courage” has taken on a whole new meaning. In fact, it now means the opposite of what it used to mean. Courage is now demonstrated by publicly affirming the fallacious values, beliefs, ideas, and behaviors that our Leftist-dominated culture celebrates. Courage is demonstrated by publicly affirming those values, beliefs, ideas, and behaviors when doing so not only costs nothing but elicits encomia galore.

In my state of utter unhipness, I think Barronelle Stutzman, the 70 year-old florist in Washington State, is heroic. Because of her faith in Christ, Ms. Stutzman steadfastly refuses to use her gifts, time, and labor to profit from a same-sex ”wedding” and consequently is being sued by the State of Washington. I wonder what the Obamas, who claim to be followers of Christ, think of Ms. Stutzman. I wonder if President Obama is proud of her. I wonder if Mrs. Obama has got her back. I wonder if the mainstream press will ask the Obamas if they think Stutzman is courageous.

Collins' recent announcement is just another 

outrageous attempt to brainwash children and the

feeble minded. The response from the Obamas' and

the media is an indication of just how twisted this

country has become. This is not the stuff that great 

civilizations are built from.