Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So help me God

Getting it partially right, Fox News reported this week that the Air Force Academy is under pressure to removed “so help me God” from its Cadet Honor Oath. However, on the facing page in Contrails, the Academy's official handbook, “so help me God” has already been removed from the Cadet and Officer oaths. (Click to View)
As first reported by Mark Alexander last May in “Obama's Frontal Assault on Faith,” until 2011, the AFA handbook contained the words “so help me God” in bold letters after the Cadet and Officer oaths. However, under the tenure of AFA Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, those words were removed from the Class of 2015 handbooks, and are absent in all subsequent year editions of Contrails. (Last we checked, the cadet and officer oaths at the Naval Academy and West Point have not been altered.)
In 2012, when Alexander first asked the AFA's Public Affairs Office who had ordered the removal and why, the PAO dodged the question for two days, then on the third request responded tersely that Alexander could file a “Freedom of Information Act” request. In other words: “Take a hike.” (Alexander is now in the process of filing an FOIA for all communications related to this omission.)
This week, Barack Obama's top military appointees at the AFA claimed that their review of the remaining instance of “so help me God” in the Cadet Honor Oath, is the result of a challenge by ultra-leftist Mikey Weinstein's so-called “Military Religious Freedom Foundation” (MRFF). In fact, Weinstein, who was tapped by Obama earlier this year to “consult” with DoD on faith expression in the military, is little more than an atheist proxy for the Obama administration. He is a surrogate doing the bidding of the most faith-intolerant regime in the history of our Republic.*
Of course, if any military officer publicly suggested this was their CINC's agenda, they would face a court-martial. However, off the record, Alexander has spoken to many senior officers who believe this is precisely Obama's agenda.
What is the Obama/MRFF strategy in this case? Given that AFA administrators have already removed “so help me God” from the Cadet and Officer Oaths, if Weinstein pursues legal action, it will be difficult for the AFA to argue for retaining “so help me God” in any oath. And, if Weinstein “wins” a legal challenge against the AFA, he will undoubtedly pursue “domino effect” rulings to amending oaths in the other Service Academies – and by extension throughout the Service Branches. Weinstein's target is much bigger than the AFA Honor Oath.
At present, AFA leadership is attempting to side step Weinstein's complaint by suggesting the inclusion of “so help me God” in the Honor Code will be voluntary. “We work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and that respect includes the ability of our cadets, Airmen and civilian Airmen to freely practice and exercise their religious preference - or not,” said Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. “So, in the spirit of respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with 'So help me God.'”
But the fact is, “so help me God” is already elective. While 5 U.S.C. § 3331 specifies the inclusion of “so help me God” for both military and civilian oaths, it is understood that these words are elective under our Constitution's Article VI prohibition of any religious test for public office. However, it is no longer elective in the AFA Cadet and Officer oaths because the words have been removed!
Moreover, according to the most recent Air Force Instruction issued by the Secretary of the Air Force, section 1.4. Oath, subsection 1.4.1. Enlistment Oath and 1.4.2. Oath of Office (Commissioning Oath) both specify “So help me God.” Further, the SecAF orders “Compliance with this publication is mandatory.”
Dr. Hans Mueh (Brig. Gen., Ret.), who was tasked with formulating the Honor oath in 1984, “To add more seriousness to the oath, we decided to mirror the commissioning oath and add the words, 'so help me, God.'” But there is nothing there to mirror now!
At best, the AFA is not in compliance with the SecAF's mandate regarding oaths, and any military officer(s) who approved the oath alterations could be subject to prosecution under UCMJ Articles 90 and 92. At worst, somebody has provided Weinstein with a lay up for a legal “gimme,” which he can ultimately parlay into the removal of “so help me God” from every military oath.
So the question remains, who ordered the removal of “so help me God” from the 2011 Cadet handbook, and why? We are going to demand answers to those questions, and it will be interesting to see if Obama's appointees attempt to pass this off on a “Cadet committee” or some equally innocent scapegoat.
In the meantime, Obama and his Leftist cadres should heed this formative advice on faith in the military, from an order issued by General George Washington ahead of Valley Forge: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” Twenty years later, President Washington wrote, “Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths…”
Editor's Note: This column was updated Saturday, 26 October. In his Thursday, 31 October column, Mark Alexander will be providing more details on Michael Weinstein and the Obama/MRFF strategy to remove “so help me God” from all Armed Services oaths.
*(The MRFF is dedicated to freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. In 2011, Weinstein demanded and received an apology from AFA Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, for authorizing cadet support of “Operation Christmas Child,” which assembles and fills millions of shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and other gifts for impoverished children in 130 countries! Weinstein objected because OCC places a Christian tract in those boxes.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013



SPRINGFIELD - There will be no praying the rosary for gay marriage this Sunday where Bishop Thomas Paprocki pastors. Anyone attempting to enter the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception wearing "rainbow sashes" will be denied entrance, and anyone praying out loud for same-sex marriage will be asked to leave. 
The Bishop issued this warning: “It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy…Since Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman, praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Kennedy's are at it again.

Trying to spring their POS cousin when they know he is guilty. Another testament to their total lack of morals and unwillingness to take responsibility. Unfortunately, we have plenty of similar stories right here in Chicago. 

Skakel Gets New Trial in ’75 Killing of Teenager in Connecticut

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A Connecticut judge on Wednesday ordered a new trial for Michael C. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy who was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning a neighbor with a golf club in 1975, saying his original lawyer had not represented him effectively.
Pool photo by Jason Rearick
Michael C. Skakel


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Martha Moxley at age 15.
Pool photo by Jason Rearick
Judge Thomas A. Bishop during Mr.  Skakel's appeal trial in April.
Pool photo by Jason Rearick
Michael Sherman, Mr. Skakel's former defense lawyer, during the appeal trial in April.

The decision was another turn in a high-profile case that drew television crews and celebrity crime writers like Dominick Dunne. Judge Thomas A. Bishop set aside the murder conviction of Mr. Skakel, 53, who was sentenced to 20 years to life for killing the neighbor, Martha Moxley, when they were both teenagers in Greenwich.
The 136-page decision amounted to a review of the trial and an attack on the way Michael Sherman, the lawyer who represented Mr. Skakel before he was convicted, had handled his defense.
Judge Bishop said Mr. Sherman had been “in a myriad of ways ineffective” as Mr. Skakel’s lawyer.
“The defense of a serious felony prosecution requires attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense” that is capably executed, the judge wrote. “Trial counsel’s failures in each of these areas of representation were significant and, ultimately, fatal to a constitutionally adequate defense. As a consequence of trial counsel’s failures as stated, the state procured a judgment of conviction that lacks reliability.”
Mr. Skakel’s current lawyer, Hubert J. Santos, said he was thrilled with the decision. “Pleased is an understatement,” he said, adding that he would file a motion on Thursday to have Mr. Skakel freed on bail.
Mr. Skakel has served 11 years of his sentence. Last year, a parole board rejected his application to be released.
The state’s attorney handling the case, John C. Smriga, told The Associated Press that prosecutors would appeal Judge Bishop’s ruling.
Calls to Mr. Sherman on Wednesday were not returned. He has defended his representation of Mr. Skakel and told The Hartford Courant in April that he hoped Judge Bishop would rule in Mr. Skakel’s favor. “I don’t have mixed emotions about this,” Mr. Sherman said then. “I want him out of jail. That’s the priority.”
The victim’s brother, John Moxley, said he found the decision frustrating, coming after previous appeals had been rejected.
“It’s just amazing that you have all these appeals, the appellate courts, all these different very sophisticated judges, and then, you know, a judge in a sleepy little town way upstate in Connecticut completely upsets the apple cart,” he said. “But we’ll get through this. There’s no question that Michael’s guilty.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and cousin of Mr. Skakel’s who helped develop new evidence after Mr. Skakel was convicted, said he was happy with the decision. “A first-year law student from any of my classes would have done a better job than Mickey Sherman, who’s a very likable guy but was clearly interested — his ambition was to be a television lawyer and he thought this trial was going to be his ticket to that career,” he said. “He told a bar association meeting that he intended to have a lot of fun at that trial.”
“Michael had an airtight alibi and five witnesses,” Mr. Kennedy said. “Anybody who couldn’t win that case should not be admitted to the bar.”
In seeking a new trial, Mr. Skakel and his lawyers claimed that Mr. Sherman failed to provide adequate representation. Among other things, Mr. Skakel accused Mr. Sherman of failing to pursue an alibi defense; failing to rebut the testimony of two schoolmates who maintained that Mr. Skakel had admitted to the murder; and failing to prepare an effective closing argument, a lapse Judge Bishop called “both inadequate and improper.”
“His argument was, in the main, an unfocused running commentary on the state’s evidence,” the judge wrote, adding that Mr. Sherman had failed to mention the notion of reasonable doubt. “Attorney Sherman’s argument did not provide the jury with any template for decision making,” the judge noted.
The judge said that Mr. Sherman had billed more than $1.2 million for representing Mr. Skakel. Mr. Sherman pleaded guilty in 2010 to failing to pay two years’ worth of federal income taxes totaling more than $420,000 and served a year and a day in a minimum-security prison camp in upstate New York.
Judge Bishop also faulted Mr. Sherman’s handling of the jury selection phase of Mr. Skakel’s trial. The judge said that Mr. Sherman “unreasonably chose a juror who was not simply a police officer but one who was friendly with Detective Lunney, a lead investigator for the Greenwich police and a principal state’s witness.”
Mr. Skakel was not arrested until he was in his late 30s, a quarter of a century after the murder. He was convicted after a three-week trial that brought a number of unpleasant details to light, including his drinking and his drug use — and his claim, on the night of the murder, that he had climbed a tree and masturbated while trying to look into Ms. Moxley’s bedroom.
She was struck with a 6-iron from a set that had belonged to Mr. Skakel’s mother. She was hit with so much force that the head of the club broke apart. Mr. Sherman had argued that Mr. Skakel was miles away, at a cousin’s home, watching “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” on television.
Emma G. Fitzsimmons contributed reporting.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is it too early to ask for Obama to resign?

No more luster.
We have seen it before, a large corporation botching the rollout of a new product. Apple, HP, BP, GM,  GE, etc. Heads rolled and rightfully so. 

I don't see the difference. We need to get someone in there with some common sense and fast. 

Obamacare represents the largest tax increase in the history of the United States. It is also the worst policy since the enactment of prohibition. Kindly remember the name of every politician that endorsed it. 

Sebelius resignation will be forthcoming soon.

A group of 32 House Republicans have signed on to a letter calling on President Obama to ask for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius's resignation over glitches on the Web site.
"The scope of the problem is so great that, were this a private company or military command, the CEO or general would have been fired," the members write. "We are, therefore, calling on you to hold Secretary Sebelius accountable for the fiasco that is and ask for her resignation."
Most of the signatories come from the tea party/cast-iron conservative wing of the party.
They are: Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Roger Williams (R-Tex.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Health Insurance Cost Doubles!!!!!

CHICAGO - Chicago area insurance professional C. Steven Tucker isn't mincing words with the mainstream media that either purposely ignored or shrugged off his warnings about the dramatic changes coming to the health care insurance programs when ObamaCare would kick in. While the President assured Americans they could keep their doctors and their policies, Tucker warned Obama's 2009 promises would prove to be meaningless.
"I told you so!" Tucker says, and points to evidence of clients' notices from Aetna, Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield providers that say current policies will no longer be acceptable or offered. He writes:
Below I will link to some real world examples of what is beginning to happen because the Obamacare “Health Insurance Exchange Marketplaces” opened on 10/1/13 and were funded (once again) by Republicans in the most recent Continuing Resolution on the evening of October 16, 2013.
Firstly, here is a sample copy of a letter that my Aetna clients are already receiving. These clients are now losing their individual and family health insurance plans. They will be forced into an Obamacare compliant plan as of 12/30/2013 where the cheapest – “Bronze” plan – will expose them to a $12,700 out of pocket risk exposure each year for in network covered charges.
Secondly, here is a sample copy of a letter that my Humana individual and family policy holders are now receiving. They too are now being forced into the Obamacare exchanges and they too will face the same aforementioned $12,700 out of pocket risk for their family each year for the cheapest – “Bronze” – plan.
Thirdly, here is the first letter I received just today from a client who just had their Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois family policy terminated. Notice their replacement plan options. They are offered the following Obamacare compliant plans from Blue Cross:
The Blue Bronze PPO 005. Click here to view the outline of coverage.
The Blue Choice Silver PPO 003. Click here to view the outline of coverage.
The Blue Choice Bronze PPO 006. Click here to view the outline of coverage.
Notice the out of pocket costs with each of those plans? Every one of them has a higher out of pocket risk to this client than the risk his family assumes now and all of them are more expensive than what he pays now. With the exception of the “Bronze PPO 006″ plan which more than DOUBLES his family’s out of pocket risk exposure on his current “HSA 100%” plan. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

O'Shea Delivers!


At a press conference on Oct. 12, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District (CPD) Superintendent Mike Kelly and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea announced that property on the southeast corner of 115th Street and Western Avenue will be redeveloped to offer local athletes a venue for gymnastics—and ice skating—in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood.
The Morgan Park Sports Center will be the first and only gymnastics center and indoor ice skating rink in the city of Chicago, Emanuel said, and it couldn’t be built in a better spot.
“If I heard once I heard a thousand times about the need for an ice skating rink and for a gymnastics center here on the Southwest Side in the Beverly community,” Emanuel said. “It should be where people have been asking for this. … I think after 30 years we can have a development that actually represents the community. So this dream deferred is a dream delivered.”
According to Emanuel, the sports center has been on O’Shea’s wish list since before the alderman was sworn into office in 2011. The center will be built on property that has been vacant since 1981, Emanuel said. The property on the northeast corner of 115th and Western, which will accommodate the center’s parking lot, has been vacant since 1985.
O’Shea concurred with the mayor’s remarks, telling the hundreds of people in attendance that developing the two vacant lots has been one of his administration’s top priorities.
“Right now, we are standing on more than two-and-a-half acres of blight,” O’Shea said. “What’s worse, we’ve lived with this problem since the Reagan administration. Today, thanks to the Emanuel administration, we’re finally going to do something about it.”
According to a news release from the mayor’s press office, construction of the 55,000-square-foot complex is slated to begin in the summer of 2014 with a target completion date of summer 2015.
The indoor ice rink will accommodate year-round competitive hockey, figure and recreational skating with a National Hockey League regulation-sized rink measuring 85 feet by 200 feet. Currently, the park district operates one other indoor ice skating rink at McFettridge Park, 3843 N. California Ave.
The gymnastics side of the complex, featuring a large pit area and in-ground trampolines, will be equipped to host training opportunities and USA Gymnastics competitions for youths and adults. The park district currently operates eight other gymnastics centers in the city.
Other features of the complex include a concessions area, meeting and party rooms, viewing areas to accommodate 1,200 spectators, offices and team locker rooms.
According to O’Shea, the center will be a state-of-the-art facility that will offer local residents the type of “recreational development that matches the superior caliber of our residential housing stock.”
In addition, O’Shea said, the center is a public investment that creates sorely needed jobs and will serve as a major economic engine for the region.
According to O’Shea, the concept of a sports complex at the corner of 115th and Western has been in the works since the days of former aldermen Mike Sheahan and Ginger Rugai. In recent years, O’Shea had proposed installing a “passive greenspace” on the south lot that could be used for lacrosse, soccer and other youth activities until funding was available to build the facility.
The sports center is expected to cost approximately $12 million, O’Shea said, using approximately $8 million in combined monies from the state capital bill, the park district and existing tax increment financing (TIF) funds. The remaining $4 million, he said, will be financed, and future TIF funds will be used to pay off those loans.
With preliminary financing in place, the city’s next order of business will be closing 115th Street to through traffic from Western Avenue—a caveat of the development from the beginning, O’Shea said. Creating a cul-de-sac on 115th Street east of the parking lot, officials said, will allow patrons to access the sports center from the parking lot without crossing a street laden with heavy traffic.
O’Shea said he conducted a survey this summer in which 60 percent of the respondents said they would be in favor of closing the street to help spur redevelopment of the corner.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Perhaps he should run for office in California.


Chicago Republican John Cox (right) visited Iowa as a presidential candidate in 2008
CHICAGO - Maybe you haven't heard the name John Cox in Illinois politics for a while. He's the Republican that ran for Illinois'  2004 U.S. Senate nomination and in the multi-candidate race, lost to businessman Jack Ryan who stepped out of the race just weeks away from Barack Obama winning that November.
Cox also ran for Congress in the 10th CD, and tried for U.S. President in 2008. 
Now Cox and his wife split their time between homes in Chicago and Rancho Sante Fe, California. And because Cox was evidently badly bitten by the political bug during his Illinois campaigns, the former head of Jay's Potato Chips is taking his public service westward to reform California politics.

Cox's theory is that California's state house poorly represents the California population because the state's legislative districts are way too large. He writes on his "Rescue California" website:
Our career politicians fight elections in massive districts.
To do so they need to raise massive amounts for TV, radio and electioneering staff.
Let’s make this redundant. Let’s break each massive district into 100 mini-districts.
Let’s have 4000 state senators and 8000 assembly members. They’ll live in their neighborhoods and represent just a few thousand voters. There will be no need for election funds – they’ll walk the streets, meet you in the supermarket or the church and hold town hall meetings. They’ll know their local area and its concerns, and they will focus on legislation that addresses those needs. When they vote on a bill, they’ll check with voters and the other neighborhood representatives first. They won’t be beholden to the special interests because there is no need for massive campaign funds.
100 mini-districts for every current legislative district. That would break districts down into precinct-size, and multiply the voters' influence over their representatives. No need for state level commericals, ads and expensive consultants, Cox says.
Would Illinois be up for such a dramatic change? Would it work here? 
At the very least,  John Cox is still thinking outside the box and using his creative juices to introduce major reform, although the ideas may be totally impractical and purely visionary. What do you think? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Red Light Cameras


Emanuel3CHICAGO - According to Jim Tobin of Taxpayers United of America, red-light cameras are a scam whose only purpose is to generate millions of dollars for cities and towns, and, furthermore, actually increase accidents, not decrease them.
“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must have felt a tingle go up his leg when he announced last week that red-light cameras would be coming Jan. 31 at 18 Chicago intersections,” said Tobin. “He is looking forward to the additional millions of dollars that will be funneled into city coffers to fund the lavish, gold-plated Chicago government-employee pensions.”
“Emanuel stated that such cameras have reduced accidents, but this is either a sign of ignorance, or a lie.”

“One report after another has shown the reverse is true: Red-light cameras increase accidents. But they also increase revenues for municipalities, which is why politicians love them.”
“The National Motorists Association website has a sampling of these studies.”
  • Los Angeles | KCAL TV    A local TV station fact-checked the city's claims that their ticket cameras reduced accidents and found that the opposite was true. At 20 of the 32 intersections studied, accidents increased and several intersections tripled their accident rate.
  • Washington, D.C. | Washington Post     This report showed an overall increase in accidents at red-light camera intersections of 107 percent.
  • Portland, Oregon | KATU News     KATU News reviewed city statistics and found a 140 percent increase in rear-end crashes at the intersections where red light cameras were installed.
  • Fort Collins, Colorado | The Coloradoan     Ft. Collins, Colorado has experienced an 83 percent increase in the number of accidents since red light cameras were installed.
  • Oceanside, California | North County Times     This report showed a 800 percent increase in rear-end accidents.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Philadelphia Weekly     This article showed an increase of 10 to 21 percent in accidents in intersections with red-light cameras.
“Taxpayers are being nickel-and-dimed to death by greedy politicians, except we’re not talking about nickels and dimes. In addition to having to pay out big bucks, motorists are suffering increased injuries caused by rear-end collisions. Only politicians and orthopedic surgeons are benefiting.”

Friday, October 18, 2013


Does anybody seriously think that the name "Blackhawks" as used in the name Chicago Blackhawks, is offensive? Is there any American Indian walking around this morning feeling bad about the use of that name? Of course not. If anything, it honors the tribe that lived here. So why are there calls to rename the team?

If anything is offensive, it's that the Indians were evicted from the lands that their ancestors occupied for 10,000 years. If you want to make them feel better, give them back their land. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kick the can.

The Republican Party has failed to stand up to Obama. They blinked because they have no balls. Our children are going to hate us for this. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coincidental or Intentional?

( -- The Obama administration is continuing to prohibit approximately 50 Catholic priests from saying Mass and administering other sacraments at U.S. military facilities around the world, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services.
Father Ray Leonard, who is one of these priests, and who serves as the Catholic chaplain at Navel Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, filed suit Monday against the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Department of the Navy and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. His suit—joined by Navy veteran Fred Naylor, who is a member of the Catholic congregation at Kings Bay--alleges that the administration is violating his and his congregation’s First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly.
DOD has been prohibiting Father Leonard and the other Catholic priests from administering the sacraments and providing other services to their congregations even though two weeks ago Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law that instructed DOD to maintain on the job and keep paying contract employees who were supporting the troops.
DOD took this action because Hagel determined--after consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department--that civilian Catholic priests, working under contract as chaplains, did not, among other things, “contribute to the morale” and “well-being” of service personnel.
"The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians," Hagel said in an Oct. 5 memorandum. "Under our current reading of the law, the standard of 'support to members of the Armed Forces' requires a focus on those employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of covered military members during the lapse of appropriations."
Among the specific examples Hagel provided of civilian contractors whom he believes meet this standard are those working in secular "Family Support Programs and Activities," "Behavorial Health and Suicide Prevention Programs" and "Health Care Activities and Providers"--but not priests.
“As the Catholic Pastor for the base, Father Leonard celebrates daily and weekend Mass, hears confession, and administers the Sacraments, which take place on the base,” says the lawsuit filed for Father Leonard by the Thoma More Law Center.
“Father Leonard wishes to continue practicing his faith and ministering to his faith community free of charge on the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay during the government shut-down, but has been told that he is subject to arrest if he does so,” says the suit.
There are about 300 Catholic families on the base that Father Leonard serves. "Father Leonard is not permitted to perform Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes, meetings, and preparations on the Naval Base," says the lawsuit. "Therefore, all preparation of Catholic Sacraments, such as confirmation and marriage are cancelled."
Father Leonard, who spent a decade serving the Tibetan population in China, likened the administration’s behavior to that of the regime in the People’s Republic.
“In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China,” Father Leonard said in a statement. "I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.”
Father Leonard is far from being alone among Catholic priests that the administration is subjecting to this treatment.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, led by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, explained to on Tuesday that there are about 900 Catholic priests serving Catholics in the military and their families at bases worldwide. These include priests who are serving on active-duty in the military, priests who are general schedule civilian government employees, and priests who are not government employees but who are on contract to the military to provide chaplain services to military personnel.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, the DOD prevented some general schedule priests as well as contract priests from administering the sacraments at military bases. This included, for example, both Father Leonard and Father Larry Smith, S.J. of Georgetown University, who serves at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. Father Smith, who is a general schedule federal employee, was allowed to return to his chaplain duties by Sunday, Oct. 13.
However, according to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, Father Leonard and about 50 other Catholic priests serving on contract at military facilities have not been allowed to return to serving military personnel.
As Father Leonard's lawsuit states, such priests were not allowed to administer sacraments even on a volunteer basis.
Defense Secretary Hagel, according to Father Leonard's lawsuit, decided to continue to block contract priests even though Congress had passed and President Barack Obama had signed the Pay Our Military Act at the end of last month before the government shutdown began.
That law provided that during a shutdown active duty military personnel would be paid, and that civilian Defense Department personnel and contractors would continue to serve and be paid if the secretary determined they are “providing support to members of the Armed Forces.”
After Hagel determined that civilian Catholic priests did not meet his standard of "providing support" to military personnel, and thus could not return to work like civilian "family support" or "behavioral health" personal, DOD decided that the Anti-Deficiency Act barred civilian priests from even volunteering to administer the sacraments to Catholic military personnel at military facilities.
At Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, the DOD went so far as to lock up the chapel and sequester the Holy Eucharist inside it. Catholics believe the Holy Eucharist is literally the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

“The doors to the Kings Bay Chapel were locked on October 4, 2013, with the Holy Eucharist, Holy water, Catholic hymn books, and vessels all locked inside,” said Father Leonard’s lawsuit. “Father Leonard and his parishioners, including Fred Naylor, were prohibited from entering.”

Monday, October 14, 2013


Nobel_PrizeThe University of Chicago piled up two more Nobel Prizes in economics. Lars Peter Hansen and Eugene Fama share this year’s award with Robert Shiller of Yale University. The three are honored for their individual research on asset prices, which has helped understand and predict how stock and bond prices will change over three years or longer. 

Mr. Hansen is a former Beverly resident.  Congrats.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013


WASHINGTON DC - U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reviewed the documented, growing war on Christianity throughout the world at the Values Voter Summit in D.C. this morning.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Dollar billBy Josh Dwyer -
School districts across Illinois waste more than $941 million a year by giving raises to teachers who earn their master’s degrees, even though most studies show these degrees do nothing to boost student achievement.
In fact, even U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan thinks this is one of the worst ways to spend money in education. He said as much in a 2010 speech:
“Doing more with less will likely require reshaping teacher compensation to do more to develop, support and reward excellence and effectiveness, and less pay to people based on paper credentials […] Districts currently pay about $8 billion each year to teachers because they have master’s degrees, even though there is little evidence teachers with master’s degrees improve student achievement more than other teachers.”
Still, districts in Illinois increase teacher salaries by an average of $11,190 when they earn their masters’ degrees – the biggest such increase in the country.

Numerous studies, including one conducted by Douglas Harris and Tim Sass at the nonpartisan Urban Institute, show that paying teachers for earning additional degrees is not a good use of taxpayers’ money.
In a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Thomas J. Kane, an economist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who has studied the relationship between teachers earning advanced degrees and its impact on student success, said that “paying teachers on the basis of master’s degrees is equivalent to paying them based on hair color.”
Some states have already made changes to the way they compensate teachers for earning master’s degrees.
In August, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a landmark budget bill that eliminated automatic pay increases for teachers who earn their master’s degrees. Previously, North Carolina teachers received an average $5,148 bump in their salaries when they earned their master’s degrees, and the state spent more than $171 million increasing teachers’ salaries in response to the law.
Tennessee recently adopted a policy that requires districts to adopt salary schedules that put less emphasis on advanced degrees and more on factors such a teacher performance. In Newark, N.J., the local school district decided to pay teachers for master’s degrees only if they are linked to the district’s new math and reading standards.
Districts across the country have wasted billions of dollars paying for master’s degrees.  In fact, between 2004 and 2008, the nation’s annual outlay for master’s degree bumps surged 72 percent to $14.8 billion.
Millions of dollars have been spent in Illinois paying teachers for earning master’s degrees – not because it benefits students, but because of pressure from powerful teachers unions and administrators. It’s the natural result of a system that is based on politics, not the rules of the market.
Teacher pay should be based on results, parent feedback and choices; not arbitrary policies created by the state.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shrinking the Illinois Senate

Our state senator
Illinois SealBy Brian Costin -
With 42,336 elected officials as of 1992, Illinois has nearly 12,000 more state and local elected politicians than any other state.
Amazingly, with this unprecedented wealth of legislators Illinois hasn’t been able to adequately address some of its most dire problems. Illinois still ranks near the bottom of the nation in numerous key economic indicators, includingunemployment ratebusiness climateout migration and credit ratings.
The trend of lots of legislators starts from the top. With 59 members, Illinois has the third-largest state Senate body in the country. Only Minnesota, with 67 senators, and New York, with 62 senators, have more.
With this large workforce of politicians comes increased costs for state and local taxpayers in Illinois. In fact, Illinois legislators are among the highest paid in the country.
However, a constitutional amendment proposal for the November 2014 election looks to reduce the size of the Illinois Senate and bring it closer in line with the national average of 39.

This is part of the same proposal to enact eight-year term limits on members of the Illinois General Assembly.
The proposed structural changes to the General Assembly would reduce the number of state senators to 41 from 59 members, and increase the number of state representatives to 123 from 118 members. The net reduction in state legislators would be 13.
Even with the proposed reduction to 41 members, 33 states would still have smaller legislatures than Illinois. This includes California, Florida and Texas, three of the largest states in the nation.
While opponents are chastising the plan to reduce the number of state senators, the reduction will actually bring Illinois closer in line with the rest of the country. Also, it may kick start efforts to reduce the number of elected officials locally.
Here’s a look at how the Illinois Senate compares to other states.
State            Senate size    
1. Alaska20
2. Nevada21
3. Delaware21
4. New Hampshire24
5. Hawaii25
6. Utah29
7. Arizona30
8. Oregon30
9. Vermont30
10. Wyoming30
11. Texas31
12. Ohio33
13. Tennessee33
14. Wisconsin33
15. Missouri34
16. West Virginia34
17. Colorado35
18. Alabama35
19. Arkansas35
20. Idaho35
21. Maine35
22. South Dakota35
23. Connecticut36
24. Michigan38
25. Kentucky38
26. Rhode Island38
27. Louisiana39
28. California40
29. Florida40
30. New Jersey40
31. Virginia40
32. Massachusetts40
33. Kansas40
34. Illinois (proposed)          41
34. New Mexico42
35. South Carolina46
36. Maryland47
37. North Dakota47
38. Oklahoma48
39. Washington49
40. Pennsylvania50
41. North Carolina50
42. Indiana50
43. Iowa50
44. Montana50
45. Mississippi52
46. Georgia56
47. Illinois (current)59
48. New York62
49. Minnesota67
Average senate size39.2