Abandoned plant in Harvey

By John Ruberry

Contained in my inbox this morning was an email from Crain’s Chicago Business touting an article by Dennis Rodkin, “Can Chicago’s Southland Be Rebuilt?” In short, “probably” is his answer. Mine is “no.”

Chicago’s Southland covers the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, some definitions include the Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. I grew up in Palos Heights, a southwest suburb, after spending my early childhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

After several readings–I want to make sure I’m right before pointing fingers–I was surprised, but not shocked, to learn that three words were missing from Rodkin’s piece: Corruption, cronyism, and graft. While Illinois is a very dishonest state, and Chicago and Cook County are the epicenter of  its dishonesty, Chicago’s Southland is the rottenest apple in this foul orchard. Five of the last six sitting or former Chicago aldermen convicted of crimes were South Siders. The two most recent Chicago City Council indictments are for Ald. Willie Cochran, whose predecessor went to prison for bribery, and former alderman Edward Vrdolyak, who has already served time in the House with Many Doors. Do you want to guess what part of the city they are from?

Vacant Far South Side home

South of Chicago is Harvey. While surprisingly light on convictions, Harvey is considered the most corrupt town in Illinois, which is saying a lot. For years the Daily Southtown, among its front web page tabs such as “Weather” and “Sports,” there was another, “Harvey.” Next to Harvey is Markham. Earlier this month voters foolishly elected a convicted felon as its mayor. The Cook County state’s attorney office is suing to prevent the mayor-elect from taking office. Nearby is Dolton. Four years ago its village president told CBS Chicago, “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard reports of ghost payrolling, vehicles being purchased without authorization, unauthorized overtime and the unauthorized use of village gas.”

Cochran was indicted last year

Illinois’ second congressional district covers much of the Southland. In 1995 its representative, Mel Reynolds, was found guilty of crimes centered around a sexual relationship with an underage campaign volunteer. He was later convicted of a slew of financial crimes. His successor was Jesse Jackson Jr, who, along with his wife, a South Side Chicago alderman, went to prison for spending campaign cash on personal items.

The most notorious Chicago Southlander is Michael Madigan of the Southwest Side. Illinois’ financial situation has descended to the point that it is functionally bankrupt. Because of generous public-sector pension commitments, which were never properly funded, Illinois is over $200 billion in debt, despite a balanced budget requirement in the state constitution.

Yes, Chicago’s Southland is majority black. Which means African Americans are being robbed the most by these so-called public servants who see government not as a higher calling, but as an opportunity to dishonestly enrich themselves and their cronies.

Much of the Southland is blighted. But there is still plenty of money to be made there, but for the most part, only if you are a crook and if you know the right people. Or if you pay off the right people. Or if you hire that politician’s brother-in-law to remodel your office so you can get that zoning variance passed.

Rodkin does touch on the soaring property tax rates in the south suburbs. But he misses the point. As people leave the Southland–and yes, they are leaving–there are fewer people left to pay the bar bill for these corrupt-and-drunk-with-power politicians in Illinois’ Corruption Corridor.

Public graft is expensive.

Oh, 600 words or so into this piece, and I didn’t even, until now, mention the region’s problems with rampant violence.

Every politician I mentioned so far is a Democrat, except for Vrdolyak, is once was chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Blogger in Harvey

In related news, last week the 14 year corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not from Chicago’s Southland, was upheld by a US Appeals Court. That’s bad news for course for Blago, but good news for law-abiding Illinoisans–yes, we do exist. If Chicago’s Southland–and the rest of the state–has any hope of receiving honest government, long sentences such as the one Blagojevich was given just might be the cure. Fear of a long stay in a federal prison might scare some scoundrels straight–or better yet, frighten dishonest people away from a career in government.

But at least in the short term, I predict things will get even worse in Chicago’s Southland–and in the rest of Illinois.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Fr Imbarrato and the Lord

On Saturday afternoon drivers on Main Street in Fitchburg Massachusetts saw a sight they had likely not seen before.

Fr Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life and sometimes EWTN personality was in Fitchburg from New Mexico for the 2nd of three days in Massachusetts invited by WQPH 89.3 FM. Both Friday and Sunday would involve events and dinners in the Boston area but after a breakfast in Medford the rest of Saturday belonged to Fitchburg and it was an active one

He would celebrate daily mass at St. Bernards Parish at St. Camillus Church at noon, he would be the guest of honor at a lunch at Slattery’s. He would celebrate the Divine Mercy Vigil mass at the now closed Madonna of the Holy Rosary and would hear so many confessions that evening that it would delay the Dinner at that’s church’s hall and his speech there.

But the Highlight of the day and indeed his trip was to come at 2:30 when he would lead that most Catholic and most rare of events at least around here, a Eucharistic Procession where the Holy Eucharistic the actual Body blood soul and divinity of Christ would be actually be carried in full display along the street.

It was three years ago that I had covered a Eucharistic Procession from MIT to Harvard in response to the Satanic Black Mass. Saturday’s event would not be as dramatic but the target was just as evil, the Planned Parenthood location in Fitchburg which services the Worcester location to facilitate the murder and dismemberment of pre-born babies for financial gain.

at 2:30 a small crowd gathered at the old City hall including a contingent from the Knights of Columbus council #15962 St. Anthony of Padua Chapter Fr Imbarrato in full regalia held the Monstrance containing the host and began the prayers of adoration. And led by a banner calling for Rosaries to be prayed for America and an image of Divine Mercy with two angels cradling victims of abortion Fr. and the Crowd began to process from City Hall to Planned Parenthood.

In addition to this video a second person was streaming the procession live to Fr. Imbarrato’s facebook page where 2000 people watched and prayed live with us as we marched down the street praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

There were many curious reactions as the procession continued. A young girl at Espresso’s Pizza took pictures or videos with her camera as we passed. Drivers down main street slowed as they watched us, some visibly surprised at the sight of the blessed sacrament and the event drew curious looks from an art gallery where a small event was taking place at the same time.

It took about 11 minutes for the crowd of 70-80 accompanied unseen by the two thousand plus on the life stream to get to the planned parenthood location across from the parking lot where I had parked.

Unlike previous events there was no sign of counter protestors nor was there any sign of the press which was odd as fliers for the event had been distributed in the area for months. There was also a distinct lack of various people either passing by or driving by throwing the odd insult at the praying and protesting crowd. Whether it was due to the presence of the blessed sacrament or not I leave it for you to say, but there were at least two people who joined the crowd in prayer as they finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet and went to the Rosary.

Through it all Fr. Imbarrato stood there holding the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament before the Planned Parenthood site not reacting to the cars passing by, some beeping horns in support, some just staring, nor at the passers by from the young black man who took some video on his phone, to the fellow staring as he walked back to his apartment carrying this takeout from Fitchburg Jade to the Spanish Woman who looked at the sacrament and the praying and nodded in acknowledgement and approval.

Oddly there was no activity at the location itself. On previous Saturdays during protests there would be people at the location but it seemed empty and barren. Perhaps they had left early, perhaps it was a slow day but either way there was nobody entering or leaving under the visage of Christ.

At it neared 4 pm Fr. prayed the final prayers of Adoration and the host was covered and people began dispersing. Some to their homes, others to Madonna of the Holy Rosary for the next set of events which will be covered in later posts but I’ll leave you with this note.

Just under five hours later at Holy Rosary Church near the end of his talk. He informed the crowd that the number of people who had so far watched the video of the procession still available on his facebook page was in the tens of thousands. It’s worth noting that the entire population of Fitchburg is only about 40,000 souls and it remains to be seen how long it will take the number of viewers online to eclipse that figure.

But even if not a single other person watches it, this was one of the most significant Catholic events ever held in Fitchburg.  Eucharistic processions are not common these days and one led by a national leader of the prolife moment in Fitchburg is rarer still.

It’s fitting that as people gather from all over the nation in Massachusetts at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in the southwest part of the state it serves as a reminder of just how much we need mercy for.

A photo gallery follows


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Olimometer 2.52

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A gunman shot at policemen on Paris’s most famous avenue, the Champs Elysées on Thursday night. Here is what is known so far:

1. France has become a prime target of the Islamic State guerrilla war on Europe. AP lists the November 13, 2015 attacks of the nightclub and vicinity os Saint Denis, and the June 13, June 14, and July 26 terrorist attacks. AP also noted the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 7, 2015.

These terrorist attacks caused the deaths of 230 people.

2. On Thursday evening, April 20, a man shot and killed a Paris police officer and injured two other officers and a tourist on the Champs Elysées:

France’s National Police union said on Twitter that a gunman fired at a police car stopped at a red light, killing an officer.

The man got out his car to fire on the officers, according to CNN.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the gunman “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen.”

3. The shooter was identified as French national Karim Cheurfi. Sixteen years ago Cheurfi had

shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.

L’Express (link in French) reports that Cheurfi was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003, his term was reduced to 15 years in 2005 following appeal, and was released early in 2016.

Police said he had been detained in February [2017] after threatening police but freed soon after.

Cheurfi, also known as Abu Yusuf al-Baljik (“the Belgian“), was shot dead on the scene by other policemen.

4. ISIS claimed credit: The U.K.’s Daily Mirror reports

A note backing Islamic State terrorism has been found near the body of the Champs-Elysees gunman who killed a police officer before dying in a hail of bullets.

The hardline militant group claimed the attack, which also wounded two other police officers.

5. The attack took place during a prime time TV “debate” between all 11 official presidential candidates.

The leading candidates had different reactions:

Emmanuel Macron warned that France would have to live with the terror threat “for years to come”.

François Fillon called for all campaigning to be suspended.

Marine Le Pen cancelled one campaign stop, and called for France to “immediately” take back control of its own borders from the European Union and deport all foreigners on a terror watchlist.

Phillipe Poutou blamed French politics and discrimination against people living in the banlieues.

France is holding presidential elections on Sunday, April 23rd.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

For the next three days I’m going to be flat out.  Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for life who you’ve seen hosting EWTN’s series Defending life, will be doing several events in several cities for WQPH 89.3 and I’ll be covering him and those who attend the various, events, masses and dinners over Divine Mercy Sunday.  You can get tickets for the various dinners and lunches here and the events are open to the public so I hope to see you in Boston, Malden, Medford and Fitchburg particularly at the Eucharistic Procession on Saturday in Fitchburg.

If you are only interested in mass there will be four two of which he will be the celebrant.

Sat 8 AM  St. Joseph’s Church Medford  Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

Sat Noon St. Bernards Church at St. Camillus Parish Fitchburg

Sat 5 PM Madonna of the Holy Rosary 118 Theresa st. Fitchburg 

Sunday 4:30 PM  Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine Boston Fr. Imbarrato celebrant

(the Final Mass will be preceded at 2:30 by confession and a Holy Hour)

Full details are here.


Speaking of life the most pro-life president of my lifetime has once again taken concrete action defending it.

America’s largest provider of terminations, Planned Parenthood, described the new measure, which has delighted pro-life conservatives, as “designed to undermine women’s health”.

The new law nullifies a rule finalised in the last days of the Barack Obama administration that effectively barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services, regardless of whether groups offering these services also performed abortions.

The new measure cleared Congress last month with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

The Yahoo article describing this drips with contempt but this was also a win for States as Hotair noted:

When the vote was cast, Senator Joni Ernst praised the bill. “It should be the right of our states to allocate sub-grants under the Title X program in the way that best fits the needs of the people living there,” Ernst said according to a report in the NY Times. She added, “Unfortunately, like many other rules issued during the Obama administration, this rule attempted to empower federal bureaucrats in Washington and silence our states.”

I think it’s really something that the items this president has managed to advance have been pro-life.  I’m ecstatic.


Also at Hotair it seems like the most prolife president in my lifetime will be meeting with Pope Francis after all:

Just to John Gizzi’s point, I just want to make sure I note that we will be reaching out to the Vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with the Pope can be accommodated.  We’ll have further details on that.  Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness.

Gronk scores? (Well, we’re used to that.) What’s odd about this is that several questions had come between Gizzi’s exchange and this later answer. The question on the table when Gronkowski interrupted was about NAFTA. No one had followed up on Gizzi’s question, but Spicer returned to it anyway. Hmmm.

At least as late as last night, the Vatican still hadn’t heard from the White House, either. America Magazine’s Gerard O’Connell reports that the Holy See’s diplomatic office is happy to arrange the meeting if they get the request:

While Francis has been a mixed bag great on confession and the danger of the devil and weak on Dogma (we still haven’t seen an answer to the four Cardinals dubia on the Amoris Laetitia footnote concerning marriage and communion)  on the issue of abortion he has been very clear in both speeches and encyclicals condemning it, although if you listen to democrats and the media it’s as if he never has.

Meanwhile Trump has so far been falling on the Paul of Tarsus vs the Simon the Magician side of the conversion scale.

They should have a lot to talk about.


Speaking of life guess what’s alive again? An Obamacare repeal compromise:

You can understand why the compromise might appeal to both the conservative and moderate wings inside the GOP. For the Freedom Caucus, it means red states will be able to shed onerous federal regs and offer a greater variety of health-care plans, replete with lower premiums for consumers. For the Tuesday Group, the fact that waivers are available but not mandatory means that blue states will be able to keep the more robust ObamaCare rules intact if they like. In that sense, the plan bears a slight resemblance to Bill Cassidy’s and Susan Collins’s proposal, which would have repealed ObamaCare and then let each state choose whether to “reimplement” it or to build their own tailor-made system. The new GOP deal doesn’t go that far but it’s a step in that direction vis-a-vis EHBs and community rating. If you believe a Freedom Caucus source who spoke to CNBC, there are 25 to 30 FC members ready to flip to yes to vote for this deal — a bit surprising given libertarian suspicions that waivers will be harder for states to obtain than everyone thinks.

And of course if it defends Planned Parenthood as well that’s going to be a biggie too.

There is a lot of talk about the first 100 days but I think that’s arbitrary, I’d just worry about getting it done period because it it gets done then we can always do more later.


You know what might also be alive again?  Ann Coulter’s speech not just At Berkeley but invited BY Berkeley which claims they have…

identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2. While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department. Earlier today, we informed both the Berkeley College Republicans and the Coulter organization of this development, and we look forward to working with them. We will disclose the exact location of the venue once we have finalized details with both organizations.

Hotair explains the volte face:

She was going to show up anyway and create a security clusterfark for them when the usual suspects inevitably started smashing windows. That was the nuclear option. Berkeley doesn’t care about bad press from the right; the fascist left wears that as a badge of honor. They don’t care about First Amendment lawsuits either. But if the town is going to burn on the 27th and they’re going to get sued by the victims for not having done more to provide security, then sure, they’ll spring into action and find a “protectable venue.” If this standoff is destined to happen, better from the school’s perspective that it happen in an environment they can sort of control than one they can’t. Coulter forced them to choose. Any other conservative speaker with the guts and the dough to provide their own security, just in case, can probably get other public universities to back down with the same threat.

Coulter has told them they can go pound sand she’s coming the 27th anyway:

Hours later, Coulter shot down the invitation in a series of tweets and said she will speak at Berkeley on Thursday as planned not only because she “can’t do May 2,” but “THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!”

That week is “Dead Week,” a time when classes are suspended so students can study for exams.

“It’s at an awful time,” said Naweed Tahmas, 20, of the Berkeley College Republicans student group that invited Coulter. Also, the last day of instruction is three days later.

“Do not fall for b.s. Berkeley press release claiming they ‘rescinded’ cancelation,” Coulter tweeted. “GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won’t be required to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I’m speaking on 4/27.”

Your move Berkeley.


There was an interesting piece on Jake Tapper in the Washington Free Beacon worth quoting:

In a candid interview with GQ published Tuesday, Tapper acknowledged that after his tough interviews of administration figures like Kellyanne Conway, he picked up a following from many critics of President Donald Trump.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but I also know that a lot of the people who are happy with me now are not going to be happy with me in four to eight years,” he predicted.

Tapper said that he was just as tough on Obama, and earned his share of grief for it at the time.

“A lot of people sending me nice tweets today were cursing me when I was asking questions about Benghazi in 2012,” he said.

“President Obama was not friendly to the press, but the press was very friendly to President Obama,” Tapper told GQ. “I mean, President Obama did not like me, and I understand why. I was a pain in his ass and I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid, and, you know, a lot of other people did.”

This is what I’ve been saying for years, that once a Republican was elected, conservatives would think Tapper had turned on them, but he’s never been with us, he’s just been a reporter who actually reports.  Yeah he’s gotten a thing wrong or two on Trump (who he clearly doesn’t like) but I’m not going to throw Jake out of the bus for being what he’s always been, a journalist who asks a lot of tough questions that make people in power uncomfortable, whoever they are.


Some culture?  Olivia De Havilland (who I think my wife resembles) is the last great star of Hollywood’s golden age still alive, from Captain Blood (1933) to Gone with the Wind (1939) she’s done it all and this week demonstrated the class of that bygone generation in reply to questions concerning a new mini series Feud about Hollywood circa 1963.

De Havilland is played on the series by fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones as a regal friend and supporter of Davis, but she was not consulted by the show’s creators — Murphy recently told THR that he “didn’t want to intrude on Ms. de Havilland” — so THR emailed her (yes, she uses email) to ask for her thoughts about the show and the women at the center of it.

“I have received your email with its two questions,” De Havilland replied. “I would like to reply first to the second of these, which inquires of me the accuracy of a current television series entitled Feud, which concerns Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and their supposed animosity toward each other. Having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it. However, in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.”

Added De Havilland, “As to the 1963 Oscar ceremony, which took place over half a century ago, I regret to say that I have no memory of it whatsoever and therefore cannot vouch for its accuracy.”

I’m with Vulture.com here

Now, time to find a throw pillow large enough to embroider with every word of this email.


Susan Sarandon is one of the Stars of that series playing Joan Crawford.  She is an ultra leftist but as this story shows, she is an honest one:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re outspoken about Trump, because Hollywood hates Trump,” she says. “But it was brave of Richard to say what he said. He was drawing attention to the things that everyone has agreed not to pay attention to. That’s the sin.”

She’s talking about Richard Gere who has been blacklisted in Hollywood for the crime of Supporting Tibet and criticizing China and even indy films are iffy now:

Gere is now appearing in “Norman,” the story of a Jewish “fixer” who gets involved with an Israeli politician. He’ll soon star in “The Dinner,” a modest story about two couples arguing over their adult children’s troubles.

Pure indie filmmaking. Yet even some indie films are off limits to him now.

“There was something I was going to do with a Chinese director, and two weeks before we were going to shoot, he called saying, ‘Sorry, I can’t do it,’” confides Gere. “We had a secret phone call on a protected line. If I had worked with this director, he, his family would never have been allowed to leave the country ever again, and he would never work.”

It’s a reminder that China is the same dictatorship it always was, but just imagine if they told Hollywood to lay off of Trump or no $.  It would be fun to see which Hollywood types would bite their tongues off.  Sarandon wouldn’t, that’s why I respect her.


An earlier item mentioned Gronk that is Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski who was part of the Pat’s continent that visited the White House and caused the Patriots to call out the New York Times for Fake News:

and they posted a tweet comparing two compatible super bowl win visits

If you want to know why so many non-New England fans hate the patriots it’s because most can only dream about tweets that say “The last time the [insert their home team here] won two Super Bowls in three years”

and while the NYT has offered a mea culpa (via hotair)

You’ll notice that the 800+ retweets that got is a lot less that the Times original 50,000+


Finally while the Boston Bruins (down 3-1) and the top seeded Boston Celtics (down 2-0) are nearing first round playoff elimination and the Boston Red Sox season just starting (10-6) 3rd place in the East have are all newsworthy I think the big story is the real likelihood that Superbowl Hero Malcolm Butler might be done in New England:

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler has signed his restricted free-agent tender, which opens the possibility that the team could trade him.

Because a player can’t be traded unless he is under contract, Butler’s status was in limbo until he signed the $3.91 million tender.

Here’s why it makes it likely that he’s done here

The thinking would be similar to what the club did in 2016 when it shipped defensive end Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a late second-round pick. The Patriots knew they were unlikely to sign Jones to a big-money extension after the season when he became an unrestricted free agent, so they decided that getting something valuable for him one year earlier was a worthwhile investment. They ultimately turned the pick they received for Jones into two players — starting guard Joe Thuney and promising receiver Malcolm Mitchell — en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Butler might even bring the Patriots a greater return in a year in which the club’s earliest selection in the draft is currently early in the third round, No. 72 overall. If the Saints were willing to return the first-round pick they received from the Patriots (No. 32 overall) in the Brandin Cooks trade, that might be enticing for Bill Belichick. Or a combination of high second- and third-round picks might even be viewed as more valuable to Belichick for a player who is unlikely to return to the team in 2018 after New England invested five years and $65 million in free-agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Of course they might just decide they want to extraordinary CB’s this year to make the defense even more airtight.

He’s one of the few people to whom a Superbowl victory can be directly traced and is rightly considered by the NFL as the top Interception of all time:

I’d be sorry to see him go but if he ends up with a big contract elsewhere I’m happy to see him cash in, he earned it.


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

I came across this on Memeorandum,
She wanted her ex-husband to die with a happy thought; she told him Trump had been impeached

When Michael Elliott died, the last voice he heard was that of his ex-wife, his best friend.

In a short phone conversation moments before Elliott took his last breath, she told him what he wanted to hear.

“I told him that everything’s going to be all right,” Teresa Elliott told The Washington Post. “And Donald Trump has been impeached.”

What saddens me about this item is not that someone lied to a person in the last moments of his life, or the political nature of the story.

I know exiles who told a dying relative good news about their country, and the news were totally invented. The person on their deathbed had suffered horribly in their native country at the hands of a cruel dictatorship which for decades denied them their most basic rights, unlike Mr. Elliott, who reportedly collected Porches and founded a golf club in Oregon.

God knows what we would say while trying to ease a loved one’s last moments.

What saddens me is that this is news.

Back in the olden days there was a word of Latin origin people used: Decorum. There were notions of what was considered proper or improper behavior: If you demeaned yourself by lying to the dying in what would be regarded as a most private moment, you certainly didn’t brag about it, much less in public.

Nowadays those old notions have been pushed away in favor of political correctness and scoring political points.

After lying to the deceased, apparently the liar picked up the phone and alerted the media, which brings to mind this John Gielgud scene from Arthur (language NSFW)

In this age of social media and “reality” TV, losing our notions of what belongs in the public domain is more than just a character flaw. It is a self-inflicted wound on our right to privacy.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

For the third straight year, I am headed to China, where I will teach students at the International School at Jinan University in Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton in South China.

The trip allows me an opportunity to travel throughout China, Thailand and Myanmar, where I continue my own “Asia pivot” after years of reporting on terrorism and the Middle East.

I will keep you up to date, with my travels and travails. I start in Xi’an, the one-time capital of China, where the Terra Cotta warriors were found in the 1970s. I visited Xi’an two years ago, but I wanted to travel to a nearby locale, where the only empress of China, Wu Zetian (624-705), is buried.

Wu was the concubine of Emperor Taizong. After his death, she married his successor—his ninth son, Emperor Gaozong, in 655. After Gaozong’s debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, a position equal to an emperor, until 705.

She is buried in the Qianlong Mausoleum, which is something I’ve always wanted to see.

A mural in the Qianling Mausoleum

Hangzhou, the Venice of China, is my next stop. That’s where the G20 met last year. The city is known for its key role in the early canal system of the country.

Hangzhou

After that, I head out of China as it celebrates May Day, and millions of people throughout the Communist world launch some sort of remembrance for International Workers’ Day.

In Thailand, which has no May Day parties, I will head to the north, where I will stop in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, the locale for the famed Golden Triangle.

After a few days, I head for Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which is being ruled rather poorly by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who ousted the longtime dictatorship.

But I’m not there for the politics; I am visiting for the famed Buddhist shrines in Bagan and Yangon.

Buddhist shrines in Myanmar

Then it’s back to southern China, where I will teach Journalism Research and In-Depth Reporting for sophomore students. Here is what my class produced last year: www.writingforjournalism.com. The stories include some about abortion, the elderly, urban policy and more.

The Chinese students are among the best and the brightest, and it’s an opportunity for me to see what the next generation from the Middle Kingdom will be like. For the most part, they resemble my students from the United States, but the work ethic is much stronger.

I’ll keep my head down as North Korea, the South China Sea and other issues swirl around me.

 

Last week large amounts of the student bodies of Claremont and UCLA colleges turned out to protest Heather MacDonald insisting that Black lives matter to them and not to the police.  Thanks to a spate of Easter violence that assertion can be tested by the answers to two questions

When will Claremont & UCLA be holding mass protests over this:

The fatal shooting of Tywan Anderson, 23, in the 1300 block of South Fairfield Avenue, half a block north of Mount Sinai Hospital, marked the only fatality among 29 people who were shot from Saturday to Sunday morning, officials said. Of the people shot, three were teenagers — ages 14, 15 and 17.

and this:

Police are hunting a killer who shared a video of the moment he shot dead an innocent man in Cleveland and claims to have slaughtered 14 more.

Steve Stephens, 37, is on the loose in the Ohio city after he filmed the murder and posted it on social media at around 2pm Eastern Time on Easter Sunday.

If as you say you are angry about violence against black citizens then surely you will be protesting the perpetrators of this actual violence that has taken place in the last 48 hours targeting the black community.  With the same social media network you used to protest Heather Mac Donald you would be able to get something up and running in days with the same kind of crowds.

That is, if you are so inclined.  If you’re not, why not?

Second Question:

What will Claremont and UCLA do for the families of the dead and wounded in the black community?

Are you committing any time and effort to protect these survivors or to find the those responsible for their deaths, or even help them cope with their losses? And if you aren’t AND the police are, then what does that say about who is more committed to black lives?

Now both of these things I mentioned are completely within your power and if you are the people of high moral authority that you claim to be you could have both a protest and perhaps even a fund that the victims and their families could tap to cover their incidental expenses, in fact I’ll be both colleges would be happy to coordinate the making of such a fund if you ask them.

But be aware, you will find no political advantage to it, there is nothing in these killings or shooting that will allow you to make political hay against Police, Donald Trump, Heather MacDonald or anyone else on the right.

So the challenge is there, it’s time to show the world, DO you students of UCLA and Claremont College believe black lives actually matter and want to do something about it, or are you just a bunch of hacks using dead bodies to advance political goals?

Here is your chance to answer that question to the world as loudly as you protested Ms. MacDonald.  May you have the wisdom to make the right choice.


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Olimometer 2.52

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Some kind of mask at the Chicago Moons the Trump Tower rally two months ago

By John Ruberry

On Saturday, three days before the deadline to file 2016 federal income tax returns, there were a couple of dozen rallies across the nation that called for President Donald J. Trump to release his returns to the public.

The republic somehow managed to survive nearly 200 years before Richard M. Nixon, under pressure by the way, became the first president to release his federal tax returns.

Yesterday I worked. I was building my income for next year’s tax deadline date, so I cannot pass on my eyewitness observations on any of yesterday’s anti-Trump rallies. But as with another tax-related anti-Trump gathering, one that I did see in person, Chicago Moons the Trump Tower, according to media reports, there were many colorful costumes, including masks, as well as meticulously designed signs. Leftist rallies are part protest and part Mardi Gras. For the progs these festivals are nothing more than a way to blow off steam, and a less expensive method than a session at a shrink’s office, unless, of course, you spent a lot of money on your Trump mask with devil horns, bright orange hair, and a Hitler mustache.

The mainstream media, that is the anti-Trump media, fawned over this springtime Festivus, unlike the dismissive tone they took with the 2010 Tax Day Tea Party rallies, which were arguably the halcyon moment of the Tea Party movement, that is, until Trump’s election last year.

Blogger running the Boston Marathon in 2004

“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over,” Trump tweeted this morning. And yes the election is indeed over. Despite last year’s haranguing by the Democrats and their media allies, Trump still won the presidency even though he didn’t make his returns public. That bus left the station. Very few Americans passionately care about Trump’s tax returns, unlike such concerns as keeping more of their income.

But there is an upside to Saturday’s frivolities. At least those leftists who designed those striking Trump masks already have their Halloween costume in hand. Make Halloween Great Again.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

 


EC-121, similar to the one shot down by North Korea. Image courtesy of stationhypo.com

So how about that North Korean aggression?  No, I’m not talking about nuclear tests or sinking South Korean vessels.  Let’s talk about the long history North Korea has of aggression.

On this day in 1969, North Korea sent two fighters into international waters and shot down an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. You can make all the arguments you want about whether we should have been there or not, but the reality is that we subscribe to international law and allow unrestricted operations in international waters.  This means that when occasionally other people do things we don’t like, such as Russia sending spy ships off our coast, our first reaction isn’t to lob a missile at them.

Later, in 1976, North Korea would murder two Army officers with axes who were trying to chop down a tree in the Joint Security Area.  Before either of these two incidents, North Korea took (and still has) the USNS Pueblo and its crew hostage.

On top of this, North Korea engaged in brutal persecution of Catholics in the area.  This is not the lame American version of persecution that we hear echoed in university halls.  It’s straight up martyrdom for being Catholic, at the end of the barrel of a gun.

As we celebrate Easter tomorrow, let’s pause to remember that the war didn’t stop in 1953.  Remember that 31 Americans gave their lives while monitoring a country so that we could avoid war.  Pray for the people of North Korea, that perhaps one day they’ll know true freedom and be saved from a savagely oppressive government.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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The Huffington Post has a piece by philosophy student Shelley Garland, who asks, Could It Be Time To Deny White Men The Franchise?

My immediate reaction was, “Could it be time to deny white female philosophy students the right to opine?,” a rather uncharitable thought to be having on a Good Friday.

Garland argues that denying white males around the world the right to vote for twenty years (“less than a generation”) would strengthen the progressive cause, which may or may not be correct, and would

allow legislation to be passed which could see the world’s wealth far more equitably shared.

Garland’s search for “equality” would end the rule of law by purposely denying men their unalienable rights to own property, legal representation and anything other that Marxists don’t agree with.

The thesis is, enact global legislation to deny rights in order to pass legislation that gives free stuff to her and her friends.

Drastic as her racist misandry proposal is, she’s not even sure about her numbers, though,

Although statistics by race are difficult to find from other parts of the world, it is very likely that the majority of the world’s assets are in the hands of white males, despite them making up less than 10 percent of the world’s population.

It’s ironic that the article is at the Huffington Post, which has close ties with rich white male George Soros,, but I’d like to ask how Garland will decide who qualifies as a “white male.”

Would Mexican open-borders activist Jorge Ramos have the US$75million he made in 2014 seized because he’s Caucasian? How about the post-gender confirmation surgery Jenner? How about the ruling families of the Middle East? The Chinese oligarchs? Or anyone with anything other than Caucasian ancestry? Would the mothers of male children not stand up for their sons? Would she revive the “one drop rule”?

More to the point, what gives Garland and her ilk the right to decide any such matter?

Someone ought to tell Garland that in Venezuela, where the hungry broke into the zoo and butchered a horse as a consequence of real-life progressive causes, the richest person in the country is the daughter of the late dictator Hugo Chávez.

How’s that for equality?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.