My Big Black Buddy

When I was very little some of my cousins had German shepherd dogs. I think they were retired police dogs because one of my cousins was a Chicago cop. These dogs and we children were always segregated at family gatherings. Nevertheless I became enchanted with the breed and as soon as we closed on the house I was in the market for a German. A couple months later we adopted a two-year-old black-and-tan named Heidi. (From a farmer named Hans. Honest.) I phoned my best friend immediately, who said she’d never heard me so excited. (This was before I got pregnant. Honest.)

Heidi barked almost not at all and she herded the cats so well we sometimes felt bad we didn’t have a couple sheep on hand for her enjoyment. Her judgment and temperament were superb. Bomb-proof, they call it. Our toddler goddaughter crawled all over her. One day at home I ended up in a heated exchange with an acquaintance who had worn out his welcome but was disinclined to leave. Continue reading My Big Black Buddy


At 6:30 a.m. on the couch with my mug, I’m mildly surprised to hear on the radio that any of the schools are open today.

Maybe I’m more than mildly surprised. Perhaps on some level I am deeply astonished at this and other news but I cannot touch it and be there for my son at the same time.

Preteen, he’s pretty self-contained. It’s hard to tell when and where it’ll come out. After 9/11 he and his friends played “suicider terrorist” daily on the jungle gym. And following a school lockdown last year when a knife-wielding teen gang-banger roamed the neighborhood, he asked for a cell phone and a Taser. Continue reading NIU

Chronicle Blames Voters for Public Distrust

The Daily Chronicle’s roundup of 2007 included this gem:

Also in April, the new DeKalb City Council was ensnared in blame and finger-pointing when newly elected 3rd Ward Alderman Victor Wogen was caught in a petty lie over a petty campaign flier. The mudslinging lasted for months and served only to erode the public’s trust in our elected officials.

So, it was the public uproar itself that was to blame for the erosion of trust, not the nasty flier of unknown origins or the lies. Ri-i-ight.

They also imply that we care more about the Bible and horse slaughter than we do about poor and uninsured people. Way to go.

Whoops, looks like I neglected to have a “Media Watch” category handy. Well, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe they just had an off day.

Happy New Year!

Town Recalls Pro-Blackwater Planning Board

[Whoops! Correction: One of the planning board members is anti-Blackwater and therefore was not a target of the recall.]

Potrero, California, in east San Diego County recalled its entire the pro-Blackwater contingent of its planning board on the basis of its approval of plans for Blackwater USA to buy 824 acres for a new mercenary training facility they call “Blackwater West.” Then, the town replaced the board with anti-Blackwater representation.

The vote count is clear and stunning: of just over 280 votes cast, (59% turnout) each of the incumbents was recalled with at least 63% in favor and each of the anti-Blackwater (pro-Potrero) candidates received no less than 71% of the votes. The new members will take their office upon certification of the results; the registrar told us that certification would occur not later than Thursday morning. With the next meeting of the Planning Group scheduled for Thursday night, we should have a 100% anti-Blackwater (pro-Potrero) panel set to take action.

Local farmer Carl Meyer led the effort. Next up is convincing 3 of the 5 San Diego County Supervisors to overcome the lobbying power of Blackwater in favor of the voters. If not, says Meyer, “The same recall mechanism works for county supervisors as for the Potrero planning group.”

IL-14 GOP Debate on WLS Radio

Instead of the usual pre-determined questions offered up by the moderator, Jim Oberweis, State Sen. Chris Lauzen and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns asked each other questions on Bill Cameron’s “Connected to Chicago” show Dec. 2. It was an interesting format. Click on this link to go to the WLS site to download the show. It runs a bit less than 25 minutes, and it only takes them 15 minutes to get to Iraq. Oberweis and Lauzen, of course, first had to go on record as keen to abolish the federal income tax and immigrants.

A Discussion of Ethics

Lately I’ve been pondering questions of conflicts of interest in political life and recently declared (elsewhere) that since a certain act of omission by a certain politician made me trust him less, I knew he had made the wrong decision. I was mocked for it, I suppose because it sounds simplistic.

Short rebuttal: It is that simple. Continue reading A Discussion of Ethics