I oppose Trump’s commutation of Blagojevich sentence

By John Ruberry

“I didn’t cross any lines I didn’t break any laws,” disgraced former Illinois governor told Rod Blagojevich Fox Chicago’s Larry Yellen in his first interview after his 14-year prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump.

Blago did both, which is why I oppose Trump’s commutation. I’m also on the other side of the opinions of my conservative friends and relatives here in the Land of Lincoln. Two of them are lawyers who have tried cases in front of now-retired federal judge James Zagel, a Ronald Reagan appointee. One of those attorneys remarked to me that he was “a hardass with a tin ear.” When I pointed out that one of the counts that the Chicago Democrat was convicted was for was attempting to extort a children’s hospital, he conceded, “Yeah, that was a bad one.”

So is trying to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder. As is lying to federal agents.

“I will govern as a reformer,” is what Blagojevich declared in his first inaugural address. His idea of reform was replacing the crooks and ward heelers surrounding his predecessor, Republican George H. Ryan, with his own crew of corruption. Blago’s friend and top aide Christopher Kelly was one of them. Shortly before he was to begin his five-year prison sentence, Kelly committed suicide. Two of Blagojevich’s chiefs of staff served time. Tony Rezko, his political fixer and fundraiser, served several years in federal prison. While they may have willingly been on board Blago’s corruption express, the former governor aided in ruining several lives.

Rezko of course was a key fundraiser in the early years of Barack Obama’s political career. The fixer and his wife played a role in the purchase of the Obamas’ Chicago mansion, the transaction has never been completely explained.

“He honestly believes he did nothing wrong,” Yellen told Mike Flannery this weekend about Blago on Flannery Fired Up

On my own blog I explained my opposition to the commutation with one caveat. If Blago spills the beans on what he knows about his political adversary, longtime state House speaker and Democratic Party chairman Michael Madigan, I’ll give Trump’s move a second thought. There is a current federal investigation of Illinois corruption and Boss Madigan’s name keeps coming up. True, whatever Blagojevich knows probably falls outside of the statute of limitations, but it can’t hurt either. Illinois needs to be power-scrubbed and sand-blasted. Illinois needs much more transparency. 

And as I’ve said many times, one way to finally clean up Illinois is to have judges like James Zagel impose maximum sentences on crooked pols and public workers. Fear is a powerful motivator. The 28-year sentence that former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick received–he had his hands in a lot more pots than Blagojevich–is a good example.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Who is Mike Bloomberg?

By John Ruberry

As expected because Michael Bloomberg is rising in the Democratic polls, there’s a backlash from the far-left against his candidacy. The far-left of course is no longer a fringe within the Democrat Party. Socialist Bernie Sanders has a very good shot of winning the Democratic nomination. The Vermont senator will almost certainly lose to Donald Trump if he gets the Dems’ nod in Milwaukee, but Bernie will set a new record for highest percentage of vote collected by a self-admitted socialist, the previous high was the six percent collected by Eugene V. Debs in 1912, which until recently was seen as an astoundingly high amount.

Times have changed but not that much. A majority of Americans do not want socialized medicine, oops, make that “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal, and student loan bailouts.

But most Democrats oppose Trump, no, make that they despise Trump. And with the collapse of the not-so-left wing campaign of Joe Biden, some Dems are looking at Mike Bloomberg as their savior.

Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until he successfully ran as a Republican for mayor of New York in 2001. Then he quit the GOP and ran as an independent for mayor in 2009, winning again. Now he’s a Democrat again.

As mayor Bloomberg kept Rudy Giuiliani’s successful CompStat policing program. New York endured 2,245 murders in 1990.Three years Guiliani was elected, now annual murders in NYC hovers around 300. CompStat floods dangerous neighborhoods with police officers–and until recently stop-and-frisk was part of policing in those crime-ridden areas. Last week leaked audio emerged from 2015 where Bloomberg supports it. “95% of murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 16 to 25,” Bloomberg said. “The way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them … And then they start … ‘Oh, I don’t want to get caught,’ so they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”

Remember, the Dems are the party of Black Lives Matter. When former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley said at a Netroots even “All lives matter,” he was booed and then he quickly apologized.

Whatever happened to O’Malley?

This morning Politico found a 2013 videotape where Bloomberg, not favorably, compared an NYC teachers union to the National Rifle Association. That’s a problem for Bloomberg, as the Democrats, among other things, is the party of the public-sector unions. The same unions that have destroyed the finances of many states and cities, most of them run by Democrats

New York City hasn’t been hit as hard by the pension bomb as much as Chicago, which is bankrupt-in-all-but name because of unfunded public-sector union pension obligations, and Bloomberg deserves some of the credit for that. As he was leaving the mayor’s office Bloomberg warned of a “fiscal straitjacket” for cities and a “labor-electoral complex that has traditionally stymied reform.”

Bloomberg got rid of, or at least eliminated, the infamous “rubber rooms” for New York public school teachers who were paid to do nothing, while still getting paid by taxpayers, as they awaited their dismissal hearings.

So Bloomberg, in my opinion, did some good as mayor. Now he has apologized for his support of stop-and-frisk. Now Bloomberg has to make peace the public-sector unions. Look for other embarrassing video and audio clips to emerge. Surely staffers from the remaining Democratic campaigns are scouring the internet and public records; hey, they even may be scanning Babylonian tablets looking for dirt on Bloomberg.

Like Trump, Bloomberg has not released his tax returns. He promises them “soon.”

Bloomberg risks looking like an opportunist who will change his views to be elected president. The NeverTrump movement of 2016 within the GOP accused Trump of being a Democrat who was masquerading as a Republican to win the White House, one who would govern as a Democrat. Of course that hasn’t happened, Trump is the most conservative president since Ronald Reagan.

There’s much for woke Democrats, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing, to hate in regards to Mayor Mike.

Just as I am in this post, the far-left wing of the Democrats will be wondering, if they are not already, just who is the real Michael Bloomberg.

Republicans and many independents already know who the real Donald Trump is. Love him or hate him, Trump is genuine.

People don’t like phonies. They don’t like sneaky people, and Hillary Clinton has been a sneak for decades. So it’s pretty funny that according to the Drudge Report, Bloomberg is considering HRC as a running mate, even though one of them will have to declare residency in another state because the Constitution prevents a presidential ticket with two candidates from the same state. 

Back to the beginning of my post: Most Americans don’t want a socialist president.

The Democrats might need a new candidate to rescue them. Biden of course has already failed. Who else do they have? Martin O’Malley?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Andrew Jackson’s censure was expunged, what about Trump’s impeachment?

By John Ruberry

Last week of course President Donald J. Trump was acquitted by the Senate after being impeached by the House. Ironically the acquittal comes in what was arguably the president’s most successful week in his 37 months in office. His not-so-loyal opposition, the Democrats, embarrassed themselves by taking several days to count 170,000 or so votes ending up with results, essentially a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, that leave more questions than answers.

Last week the stock market reached new highs–again. The employment numbers that were released on Friday were great–again. His State of the Union speech, which extolled “the Great American comeback,” given the evening before his acquittal, was enthusiastically received by his base, as was his “victory lap” celebration at the White House on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked petty–wait, make that she was petty–as she ripped up her copy of President Trump’s SOTU speech.

“Trump keeps going,” Greg Gutfeld said on his Fox News show last night. “He doesn’t have the wind at his back. He’s got a Category 5 hurricane.”

In a feeble defense of why the House impeached the president, Pelosi said in December, “He’ll be impeached forever.” On Wednesday, Acquittal Day in the Senate, Trump was forever acquitted.

Trump’s favorite president is Andrew Jackson. Ironically he was the founder of the Democratic Party. In 1834, after Old Hickory removed federal funds from the government-chartered Second Bank of the United States and deposited them in state banks, the Senate censured Jackson. In 1837 the Senate expunged the censure.

There is talk of the House expunging Trump’s impeachment, which, like the expungement of Old Hickory’s censure, will be symbolic. Then again, “impeached forever” is largely symbolic too. Last week House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he favors it. “This is the fastest, weakest, most political impeachment in history,” McCarthy said. “I don’t think it should stay on the books.”

Calling it, again, “a total political hoax,” Trump supports McCarthy’s suggestion.

If the Republicans retake the House this year, look for the 117th Congress to expunge Trump’s impeachment.

A lot has been made of Trump’s demeanor, most of it criticism from his opponents. But Jackson, who killed a man in a duel, tops Trump in bellicose talk. As he was leaving office in 1837, he asked by his successor, his second vice president, Martin Van Buren, if he had any regrets. He had two, “[That] I didn’t shoot Henry Clay and I didn’t hang John C. Calhoun.”

Clay led the censure battle. Calhoun was Jackson’s first vice president and who was a primary figure opposing Old Hickory during the Nullification Crisis.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Unfinished Business Under the Fedora: The Democrats Media Masters, J-Lo and Biology, Female Doctors Everywhere, Yockey in Iowa and Mookie over LA

Often events overtake thoughts on items so here are a few things I would have liked to have gotten out from Under My Fedora a bit earlier.

Don Surber, one of the must reads on the net notes that the media have a lot to answer for in terms of the results of impeachment and he’s right in the sense that the media kept pushing all this forward in the belief that it would hurt the president That some in the Democrat leadership and others in the field knew this to be the case was not enough to stop them.

For years I’ve thought the media was at the Democrats beck and call, now I’m wondering if it’s the other way around.


There was a lot of fuss about J-Lo’s performance at the Superbowl and the whole Pole Dancing business, I think life might be a lot easier if we all acknowledged two basic things.

Men like women and are biologically designed to desire them, the more sexually provocative they are the more noticeable they become to men’s eyes. That the actual norm, and it is the cultural restraints that our friends off the left from religion to chivalry that teaches a man to be a gentlemanly and show restraint and to respect the “no” when a woman gives it

Women are also biologically designed to rival each other for said notice of men and said biology and rivalry does not end when a woman is in her 50’s. and when you spend a lifetime making a living off the “male gaze” you certainly aren’t going to let a younger woman outdo you in that measure.

Those same civilizing impulses that acted upon men also acted upon women to be very selective when using that biological power which gives power to a women to improve a man to the point where he is a suitable mate. When our culture abandoned those civilizing tools they abandoned those restraints which ironically is what has actually objectified women.

The sooner these things facts that have centuries of experience developing the better off we will be as a society.


If you missed Doctor Who this week as I have for the last several years you would have found that the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) was joined by the 1st Black Female Doctor (played by Jo Martin).

There are many issues with this development, from the rewriting of the Doctor Who Canon of fifty plus years to the fact that they will need to take a further woke step to satisfy the Social Justice Warriors whose demands can never be fully me met shall we see the 1st trans woman doctor played by Jessica Yaniv later this season perhaps?

But the issue that is biggest for the current Doctor Who franchise is that according to my oldest son who is still occasionally watching the series not only was the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) clearly recognizable as “the doctor” in terms of tone and character unlike the 1st female doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to my son, a lifelong Doctor who man fan but she apparently the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) completely out acted the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to the point where it was according to my son the wrong person was the 1st female Doctor and it wasn’t close.

Oh and for the record the 1st female doctor was in fact Joanna Lumley

FYI My apologies to the good folks at Nerdrotic for stealing his “1st female / Black female Doctor” meme.


Completely missed this tidbit from Stacy McCain concerning old friend Cynthia Yockey. Ten years ago I met the Conservative Lesbian at CPAC and she told me of how she had been rejected and marginalized by gay friend while embraced by conservatives.

Cynthia ten years later:

Speaking of conservatives, my friend Cynthia Yockey caucused for Trump last night. Yes, there was a Republican caucus in Iowa, which Trump obviously won. Cynthia reports that (a) she was drafted to be a delegate to the county GOP convention in March, (b) elected to the platform committee, (c) her plank on transgender issues was unanimously adopted, and (d) “the passionate nominating speech for Trump that opened our caucus was given by an immigrant from India who became a citizen in 2008.”

I’m very happy for Cynthia who is a fine person but I’m even happier for the Iowa GOP & the President who are damn lucky to have her.


Finally in the Midst of all this political news the Boston Red Sox have Traded Away Mookie Betts arguably next to Mike Trout the best outfielder/player in the game along with Starter David Price for a pair of young players. For myself I would have waited till May to see if we had a chance to contend but given that Betts didn’t want to resign here getting something for a guy who hits for power & average, steals bases, has a rocket arm and incredible outfield range is a lot better than getting nothing for him, not to mention the huge savings from getting rid of David Price’s contract.

As for the Dodgers I don’t care if every team in the league has a complete list of every sign you have, if you can’t win the series with the addition of Price still a good pitcher and Betts to that already formidable team you’re just never going to do it and if you can sign Mookie to a long term deal than your team might truly become a Dynasty.

Either way enjoy it, he’s a pleasure to watch.

5 Iowa Caucus Thoughts Coincidences, App less voting, Participation Trophies, SOTU & NH Scrutiny Under the Fedora

It’s 8:59 AM Tuesday and I’ve just woken up and we still have no results from Iowa.

This is just a day or two after CNN and the Des Moines Register declined to release the results of the final poll.

And a few days after the Democrats allowed a rule change on Debates.

Yeah if I’m a Bernie Bro I’m going to trust the results, sure I am.


One of the things that occurred to me as the Democrats were busying blaming an app for their issues is that they had a caucus four years ago, and four years before that, in fact they’ve had plenty of caucus’ without this app and were able to count the votes.

How is it that they weren’t able to just, you know, count and report the votes without said app? I think that’s a very interesting question don’t you?


One other great coincidence of this “result” in Iowa is that all the candidates that the Democrat establishment wanted to protect were able to give speeches as if they had not lost, even better for them is that with the SOTU tonight, Impeachment finishing tomorrow, and NH only a few days away by the time Iowa DOES report their results it will old news.

Unexpectedly of course


Speaking of the State of the Union it will be interesting to see if President Trump includes a line about the Iowa voting or the fact that he managed to get just over 97% of the vote with over thirty one thousand votes vs just over 900 for Weld, Walsh and “other” combined. Somehow the GOP was able to count these votes without the Democrat app.

Unexpectedly of course


Finally for a lot the good folks at Granite Grok have been writing about the voting in NH and the sudden migration of non New Hampshire residents who suddenly become voters on Election day (completely unexpectedly of course) on election day. Normally this is reserved for the General election but with the desire to stop Bernie combined with the Iowa debacle it will be very interesting to see if democrats take a sudden interest in having the actual rule of law followed when ballots are cast in the state.

Should be fun.


Oh fyi finished the post at 9:33 AM still no results….

Illinois corruption investigation breaks wide open with guilty plea of state senator for bribery over red-light cameras and more

By John Ruberry

Last Sunday in this space I wrote about the need to ban red-light cameras in Illinois–and nationwide. One of the reasons I gave was that the easy cash collected from these “safety devices” fosters corruption. Oh, as far as safety, I mentioned in that post that the record on safety involving red-light cameras is at best mixed. They may even cause automobile accidents.

On Tuesday former Illinois state senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), who has close ties to longtime state House speaker Michael Madigan–who also is the chairman of the state Democratic Party–pleaded guilty to bribery, tax evasion, and extortion charges in federal court. Sandoval is now cooperating with the feds.

Sandoval is the former chairman of the senate Transportation Committee. Using the clout from that post, he promised to “go balls to the walls for anything you ask me” to a representative of the red-light camera firm referred to as “Company A” in the plea agreement.

So far that company has not been officially named but perhaps in a verbal misstep, told a judge, “I accepted money in exchange for the use of my office as a state senator to help SafeSpeed, or Company A.”

SafeSpeed denies wrongdoing and in a statement says it is cooperating with federal authorities. 

Politicians are nervous. This weekend on his Fox Chicago show Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery said, “This red light camera company–suddenly candidates, Republicans and Democrats in Springfield and elsewhere are racing to get rid of this money as if it was infected with the coronavirus. ”

Prosecutors say that Sandoval accepted $250,000 in bribes, including $70,000 in bribes to benefit the red-light camera industry. 

It hardly seems that the industry needs the help. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois drivers have handed over $1.1 billion to municipalities in fines involving red-light camera infractions. Illinois’ largest city of course is Chicago so it won’t shock you that it has more red-light cameras than any American municipality. Chicago, as I also mentioned in last week’s DTG entry, has already endured its own red-light camera scandal. The central figure in that scandal worked his way up the ranks in Boss Madigan’s Chicago ward organization.

Part of the federal investigation involves lobbying done on the behalf of Commonwealth Edison, the local electrical utility.

As far as public interest, the jaded residents of Illinois will have reasons to keep their attention focused on these scandals. Why?

  • Because people hate utilities.
  • They hate red-light cameras.
  • They hate politicians.

Yes, people keep re-electing the latter, but Boss Michael Madigan, the Michelangelo of gerrymanderers, mocks the electoral system by creating legislative districts that all but ensures Democratic super-majorities in the Illinois General Assembly. 

And increasingly, people hate Illinois. The Prairie State has lost population for six straight years. And no, cold winters aren’t the reason. The states that border Illinois, as well as nearby Michigan, are gaining residents. 

As nauseum pols and media figures are calling–again–for “meaningful reform” in Illinois. Here are my suggestions: Amend the state constitution to ban gerrymandering, and bring term limits to the General Assembly–four terms in the House and two in the Senate. Majority leaders, minority leaders, House speakers and Senate president should be limited to four-year terms. And while we are amending the constitution, the pension guarantee clause needs to dropped, but while protecting those recipients on the lower and of the pension scale. 

Did you know that state legislators can be paid lobbyists? Ban that too.

Also, the state needs a strong inspector general with the power investigate General Assembly members. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Wishcasting for California

Bernie won’t win

by baldilocks

In two days, it begins.

Californians start voting Monday in a high-profile Democratic presidential primary that has no clear front-runner and could take longer to count than any previous election in a state already notorious for slow ballot counting.

For the first time, Californians can register to vote all the way up to and including election day wherever ballots are cast, which could mean a surge of last-minute ballots, including last-minute provisional ballots that take longer to count.

Sanders, Warren and Biden are all jockeying for first position here to go against President Trump in November. Our primary used to be on the other Super Tuesday in June, but this year – going forward, I presume – it’s on the first Tuesday in March.

Fifteen counties, including Los Angeles, will replace traditional polling places with “vote centers” where people who live anywhere in the county can vote early, drop off ballots or register to vote. (…)

California has previously allowed same-day voter registration, but only at county elections offices. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last year requiring all polling places and vote centers to offer the option until 8 p.m. on election day.

But with change comes the potential for hiccups.

You better believe it. For the past few decades, voting in California has been one gigantic hiccup.

If you think that we got this was through some pristine voting process, you are delusional. As I implied here, California’s Organized Left has built the electorate it wants, with massive voter fraud as complement.  But I wonder about something.

I wonder if California can be flipped.

What has me thinking about this is CA AB5. Enacted by the Democrat Super-majority in the California Assembly and signed by Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom – who has also allotted $20 million to enforce it — it has nearly every self-employed Californian wondering when their next dollar is coming from.

Remember: CA’s Political Left wants only three kinds of people in the state: the rich, the dirt poor, and the illegal. AB5 is just another winnowing tool in a long line of them.

So, all the actors, film crews, artists, musicians, hairdressers, costume designers, set designers, and whatnot who have been contracting out their talent for decades have seen  all their livelihoods nearly obliterated by AB5 — the handiwork of politicians put into office by many to most of them.

I’d sure love to see President Trump address how California’s Political Left has betrays them – preferably doing it while holding court the Rose Bowl. Yes, I want to see a Trump rally in Southern California.

Anyway, the California Primary is about to drop off and we will see which one of the Democrats will likely face the president.

I hope it’s Biden because … who doesn’t?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar !

Or hit Juliette’s!

Old Bernie, Old Yellowstain, old arguments, old hatred and two young QBs Under the Fedora

The sheer panic of the left of the possibility of Bernie Sanders getting the Democrat nomination is really funny.

As he’s not a Democrat it’s their own fault for letting him in but to see them fret has been a bit cathartic and quite comical but the real comedy is this whole impeachment drama which has Damaged the Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular is likely the only thing that might keep the Democrats from getting Biden on the 2nd ballot which has been my prediction for a long time.

Alas poor dems when he does the Bernie Bros will take their ballots and go home.


Sean Davis notes something interesting about John Roberts

This is what happens when you’re more worried about staying in the good graces of the media/elites than to do your job. There’s a reason why I’ve called him Old Yellowstain for years.


Saw this tweet from human progress and answered it thus

  1. Christianity for the concept of the equality of all before God
  2. British common law for the concept of the equality of all before the law
  3. the Industrial revolution for freeing man from the limitations of his own physical strength
  4. The Free market for giving man a chance to progress based on his own effort & strength beyond his means

My leading with Christianity set off several on twitter and you can check out the threads (and the old arguments of centuries dusted off by those ignorant of them) but it’s worth noting that nothing sets off the left than the mention of Christianity in a positive historical light. They’ve obviously never watch this CS Lewis Doodle


One more point that hatred of Christianity isn’t just confined to some rubes on twitter to wit

The Commission report that quote appeared in got a lot of attention when it was released, because the Chairman’s Statement (which I discuss at length in my Statement) was essentially a screed against Christianity. It was astonishing. To this day, I can’t imagine what got into him. But it served to remind me that Christians (and no doubt people of other faiths too) really do have opponents in high places.

Christianity has always had foes in high (and low) places and the willingness of those foes to embrace things they supposedly despise to oppose it I think speaks more to the truths of the faith than anything else.


Finally the Superbowl is this weekend and there are two young QBs starting for the 1st time in the game. Patrick Mahomes who will bring his high powered pass offense and Jimmy Garoppolo  who brings a run game, a strong defense and two Superbowl rings won while learning under the greatest player in the history of the game.

Maybe it’s because I’m in New England but it seems like nobody at all is talking about the game, either on TV or anywhere else. Everything has eclipsed it. Which is a shame because I suspect this will be a much more interesting game than anyone gives credit for.

Illinois red-light camera probe provides convincing evidence why they should be banned

Chicago’s Northwest Side

By John Ruberry

There is a lot of red-light camera news in Illinois. As part of an overall corruption investigation in the state, federal authorities are into looking into the activities of Chicago firm, SafeSpeed, LLC, which installs red-light cameras in some Chicago suburbs.

Last week the mayor of west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, Tony Ragucci, resigned. He is part of that SafeSpeed probe. Federal agents have also have raided the municipal offices of the villages of McCook, Summit, and Lyons in conjunction with this investigation. A state senator who is part of the red-light camera probe, Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) has since resigned.

Last year federal authorities seized $60,000 from Ragucci’s home, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and $51,000 from a safe from Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski’s residence. Tobolski is also the mayor of McCook.

SafeSpeed’s CEO denies any wrongdoing and no charges have been filed regarding the firm.

In 2017, the Forest Park Review called SafeSpeed a “clouted company.”

Something stinks in Illinois. Actually, something new stinks in the state.

Red-light cameras are a cruel cash cow. At best their record in preventing accidents, the prima facie for them, is mixed as evidence shows out of fear of a $100 ticket–the charge in Illinois–motorists often abruptly slam on the brakes but then end up getting rear-ended.

As the nation’s most corrupt city, it shouldn’t be surprising that Chicago has more red-light cameras than any other municipality. Nor should it be surprising that it has endured a bribery scandal involving red-light cameras. John Bills, a former precinct captain in Michael Madigan’s political organization, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for accepting $2 million in bribes and gifts from a different red-light camera company, Redflex.

Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois House for thirty-five of the last thirty-seven years and he’s been the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party since 1998.

Three paragraphs ago I called red light cameras a cruel cash cow. How much cash? From 2008 through 2018, drivers forked over $1 billion to municipalities. Not a major reason, but I suspect the proliferation of red-light cameras, most of which are concentrated in the Chicago area, as among the causes of Illinois’ six-years-and-counting population decline.

Here’s a personal take on red-light cameras. Thursday night Mrs. Marathon Pundit, who is a limousine driver, called me. “You have to pick me up at O’Hare Airport.” I replied, “Why?” She answered, “There is a boot on my limo.” Yes, one of those wheel boots. When I picked her up at O’Hare she supplied more details. “The city says there are four unpaid red-light tickets, two of them are from 2018, but the office says they were never told about them.”

Okay, you may answer that one of her co-workers could be covering up inaction at the office. But in order for her employer to receive a city vehicle sticker for the limo she drives, all red-light camera tickets must be paid off. But the limo she drives has the latest Chicago vehicle sticker.

Those four tickets cost her employer $988, which included late charges and sending someone out to the car to remove the boot. Not knowing what was coming next, Mrs. Marathon Pundit parked her limo in a short-term lot, so her fee–which we have to pay–was a staggering $77. As it took all day Friday to sort out this debacle, my wife missed a day of work. She’s not on salary.

I’m certain hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans have similar stories.

There is some good news regarding red-light cameras. Last year Texas became the eighth state to abolish them. And in a rare bipartisan push, there is a movement in Illinois to ban them. And Illinois drivers now have a new friend, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The Chicago Democrat says she’ll no longer assist municipalities in collecting red-light camera tickets. “As a matter of public policy, this system is clearly broken,” Mendoza said in a statement, “I am exercising the moral authority to prevent state resources from being used to assist a shady process that victimizes taxpayers.”

Good for her. 

Red-light cameras should be banned. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Cindy McCain Explains why she (and other elites) don’t deserve our respect (and an interesting coincidence)

Cindy McCain the widow of Senator John McCain confirms something that all of us have already known:

note that she says that a girl from her daughter’s high school was a victim of him and she hopes he’s in hell but consider, it didn’t outrage her enough to speak out aloud and make a fuss about it, five years, or ten years ago back when it might have made a difference when the odd blogger or two was writing about it.

Remember this is the wife of a US Senator, a Former Presidential Candidate supposedly one of the most respected people in the political world, a “Maverick”.

Nope not a word.

When it comes to Jeffrey Epstien or Harvey Weinstein, or Matt Lauer et/al as far as our elite betters in cultural or political world the actions of these men were not a crisis in their eyes until the general public found out what all of them already knew.


Closing thought. Something hit me when I was writing this piece. I went back and checked the historical stats for my site.

From 2010 to 2013 My site was on a roll, I was growing in traffic, I was being credentialed for national campaigns covering Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional and other campaigns all over the country and able to do it via Datipjar. I had an oped run in the NY Post and even had an appearance on Boston’s fox station (I brought cannoli naturally). In late 2013 I brought on the first batch of my Magnificent Seven added several popular nationally known bloggers as paid members of my team. My Radio show was going strong and was expanding. I attended CPAC in 2014 confident that this was going to be my future.

On April 14 2014 I wrote an article titled

Private Islands, Orgies, Bill Clinton? Nothing to see here

The kicker was this:

What could the media do if this story involving the former father of the year? They would call it old news, not relevant, dirty tricks from a salacious lawsuit that doesn’t even involve him and an attack on Hillary that crosses the line. In fact the left will deploy a plethora of adjectives to discourage further discussion of this story from antiquated to zany, but there is one adjective that could not come out of their mouth to dismiss this story:

Unbelievable

The last few years have proven that the left can convince a low information voter of a lot of things, but even the full power of the mainstream media and the strongest zealots from the War on Women® brigade would not be able to convince the American public that Bill Clinton would have no interest or business on a private island where orgies took place.

2014 ended as my worst year in the Blogs history until last year’s technical issues kept us from posting and updating. Despite the addition of popular well known writers my traffic crashed over 67% in one year. The Tip Jar revenues likewise dropped. My radio show which had been adding stations never grew further and ended. By 2015 I had picked up an overnight temp job to pay the bills which eventually became a full time job in 2018. I dropped the podcast and I resigned myself to the fact that where I am in the blogging/writing/reporting world would never be more than what it was.

I never noticed the timing until today.