Monday, January 26, 2009


As I have pointed out before (really, go re-read that one), the fine governor of our fine state of Illinois, Mr. Rod Blagojevich, is a bit on the odd side. (You don't say?)

Today he was making the media rounds (you know, the typical serious venues for someone accused of simple things like impeachment, The View, etc.), attempting to explain away whatever utter foolishness was captured on tape by the feds last year. Does anyone think this is working?

On Friday, he again gave us a quote that is perplexing enough to be funny. The AP explained:

Blagojevich, a fan of Western movies, drew a long analogy Friday between his situation and that of a cowboy falsely accused of stealing a horse. His story ended with one cowboy suggesting the accused thief be hanged, with the other suggesting he first be tried, then hanged.

Not to sell it short, here's the full quote from the governor himself:

Now, I like old movies and I like old cowboy movies, and I want to explain how these rules work in a more understandable way. There was an old saying in the Old West. There was a cowboy who was charged with stealing a horse in town. And some of the other cowboys, especially the guy whose horse was stolen, were very unhappy with that guy. And one of the cowboys said, "Let's hang him." Then the other cowboys said, "Hold on. Before we hang him, let's first give him a fair trial. Then we'll hang him." Under these rules, I'm not even getting a fair trial. They're just hanging me. And when they hang me under these rules, that prevent due process, they're hanging the 12 million people of Illinois who twice have elected a governor.

Now, they may be for or against me. They may like me or not. But the people of Illinois have every right to expect that the decision they've made when they have chosen a governor, if he or she is going to be removed from office, that the process ought to at least have fundamental fairness and have all the safeguards that our Constitution guarantees to all of our citizens. Under these rules, Rule 15F and Rule 8B, under that fact pattern I just gave you, if the cowboy who's charged with stealing a horse was charged with doing that in town, but in fact on the date and time that he apparently stole the horse in town he was on the ranch with six other cowboys herding cattle and roping steers, and then he expects that when his day comes to go to court he can bring those six cowboys to say it wasn't him because he wasn't in town, he was on the ranch herding cattle -- even if he could bring those cowboys in to say that, under these rules, under 8B, it wouldn't matter. The complaint that charged him with stealing the horse would convict him because you can't challenge it and you can't have a chance to be able to contest it. Again, not fair; in fact, worse: trampling on constitutional rights.

Wow. Just wow. Mayor Daley had only one word to describe this turn of events...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Volkswagen Hacked

In the midst of the rest of the financial meltdown, one of the most incredible stories in the financial world has largely been forgotten.

Now, laid out clearly is the story of how Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing on Volkswagen. Wow, what a tale, and what a sad ending.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Burger Chains

Recently, several national fast food hamburger joints have opened their first branch in Chicagoland. The Trib has the rundown.

All I would add is, In-N-Out please?

Monday, January 05, 2009


Only one year away now. That's kind of astounding for a lot of reasons. But, it could potentially be a history-making year if one Russian professor's predictions comes true.

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010... that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S.

Considering the recent economic malaise, people are paying a little more attention than usual. Here's how he says it would go:

[Ongoing] mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July the U.S. will break into six pieces -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

Here's a map of the USA as he sees it being by then:

So what do you think are the chances he's correct?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Obama's Infrastructure Impact

As an infrastructure design engineer, my coworkers and I have been watching with great interest the plans President Elect Obama has been working on for an economic stimulus package that will include vast infrastructure spending. While a bill such as this would obviously be good for business, I'm more excited for it on the results side. I truly think that investments in well designed infrastructure are vital components in building our future. These are the sort of physical investments that not only add character to communities, but add livability.

As Obama has prepared to take office, it has become clear that investment in cities will be a tangible aspect of his policy. Several of his Cabinet selections are, I think, good selections from this point of view. Considering he's from here and adding on the possibility of the Olympics, I'm very excited about the possible future investments Chicago is going to see. Certainly there is an aspect of that excitement that is very self-interested, but I think this investment will prove to be valuable to all residents. And similar investments across the country will likewise prove very worthwhile, in my opinion.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Where I Was - 2008

Continuing the tradition from last year, here's where I was in 2008:

Chicago, IL *
Marble Falls, TX
San Antonio, TX
Livermore, CA
Greenville, IL *
Lake Geneva, WI
Indianapolis, IN
LaGrange, IL
St. Paul, MN

Hmm, somewhat shorter again. Apparently we need to make some trips. I'm sure we'll get to it in a few decades.

How about you, where were you?

Criteria = One or more nights spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.