. . . . for a report of a burst forehead vein in the Mayor's Office . . . . . (no, I've never run in Chicago, I have no idea whether they're dispatched by 911 or their hospitals or the CFD or what, nor do I know whether any of them have the call sign "CA69.")
So, Daley's had kind of a weird week. Despite Tamara's lack of confidence in Shortshanks' clout, he threw enough weight to get President Obama to fly to Denmark in an unprecedented Presidential lobbying campaign for the Chicago Olympics. Yay Shortshanks.
But now the Supreme Court is stepping in to decide whether the 2nd Amendment should be incorporated to apply against the states and local governments, such as Chicago and Illinois, and most legal experts predict that this is like having Michael Jordan offer to settle your bet that no one can dunk from the free-throw line. You're not just about to lose, you're about to become the sad part of a highlight reel.
The Chicago Gun Rights Examiner has weighed in, of course, and I'm working on talking to the plaintiffs in the case, though of course they have to take their lawyers' advice as regards public statements.
Big ups to David Hardy for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, announced here at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in St. Louis. Dave isn't here, but congratulations to him!
First, there's finally new content at the Chicago Gun Rights Examiner. I've been busy with some teaching work and other things lately, and I just haven't been able to write much, but this morning I bit the bullet and said to myself, "If you don't steal David Codrea's idea today, when will you steal it?" Head on over there and read the Chicago GRE's open letter to Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. I think it's a nice balance between carrot and stick, with an extra bundle of sticks then thrown on top:
. . . . . Finally, Director, I've enclosed an official "ISP-Approved Self-Defense Weapon" from IllinoisCarry with this letter. Don't be alarmed, it's perfectly safe. It's essentially a tactical, oversized tongue-depressor in a high-visibility color for intimidation value, with the web address of the ISP's "If you are confronted" page printed on the side for easy reference. It's perfect for inducing vomiting in self-defense, and since it's also a "rigid" object, it makes a great backup for a woman's primary defensive rat-tail comb or nail file. Many Illinois shooters have noticed that Illinois State Troopers, even the female ones, still carry firearms with which to defend themselves as they enforce the law, and most even keep their guns at home. Although I disagree that women should not use firearms for self-defense, especially in light of FBI statistics that show that women who use firearms to fight back against violent attackers are 2.5 times as likely to escape without injury as women who don't fight back, we at IllinoisCarry stand ready to supply as many of these alternative self-defense Tactical Tongue Depressors as the ISP needs to equip every trooper on the road. We'll do it for free and even pay a small fee as long as we can emboss our logo on the weapons. The only compensation we ask is to be allowed to videotape the meeting when you inform the ISP union representatives that the troopers will be going out armed with popsicle sticks and nail files per Illinois State Police policy.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, after a long absence for health reasons, is back with a vengeance. He's put out four new great articles in the last week, with the latest being "Gun rights are for everyone." If you haven't checked for new content from Kurt lately, it's time to go look and catch up.
Several Gun Rights Examiners will be at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in St. Louis this weekend, as will representatives of the ISRA, Guns Save Life, IllinoisCarry, and the Sangamon County Rifle Association. Will you be there? Let me know; I'm trying to meet as many people/writers/readers as I can.
Would it be better if it were blacker? Or am I just getting too old?
Wait, did I just post a racist font question? I apologize sincerely. Well, I apologize. Let's leave it at that. And now, a random story from my youth. The other night, I was telling my parents about taking My Bride and The Boys across the Kampsville Ferry on our trip down to the river to see the replicas of the Nina and the Pinta (short version: it rained. We toured Renaissance caravels in the pouring rain, had a picnic in the pouring rain, went fishing in the pouring rain, drove a hundred miles in the pouring rain . . . then rode the ferry in the sunshine.) My mother assures me that this really happened when I was about ten years old:
"We were going to cross over the Brussels Ferry to go to the game area, not far from where you and the kids were at Grafton today. Grandpa was with us. You wanted no part of that ferry; the more we talked about it, the more you insisted that you wouldn't ride it, no way, no how. 'I'm not getting on any ferry!' you said. 'You can't make me ride a ferry! I just won't get on!' 'It's not scary, buddy,' your dad said. 'It's just like being on the road. It's actually a lot of fun.' 'I'm not riding a ferry! I don't ride ferries!' you said. You were almost yelling. I was afraid you might cry. Then your grandpa said something like, 'You like to go fishing in my boat, right? This one is actually a lot safer than that. You can't get hurt unless you jump over the side.' You opened your eyes wide and looked at him like he'd just turned on a light in a dark room. 'Ohhhhh!' you said. 'You're talking about a boat!' And then you were happy as could be."
Roland Burris (D-Blagojevich) explains why he voted in favor of ACORN's federal funding (one of only 7 Senators to do so, along with Dick Durbin (D-Daley household.) Whatever you think of his vote in favor of underage prostitution's tax advantages, you have to admire his steadfast refusal to break into an actual sprint on camera.
Heeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoeheeltoe . . . . ! Maybe there's room for a racewalk championship on that tombstone.
If you're in the Springfield area this weekend looking for something to do, head over to Bullet Express on Saturday for the 2nd Annual Charity Steel Shoot.
This event is run as a tournament of one-on-one matches. The format is simple. From surrender position, draw at the timer signal and be the first to drop five steel poppers. If you're the first, your stop plate will be underneath your opponent's. You pay to shoot, and then you have the option to buy your way back into the tournament if you're eliminated. Or, if you've got a willing opponent, you can wait for the Grudge Matches after the tournament is over. Last year, lunch was grilled in the parking lot for a small fee.
There's even a novice division, where new shooters can shoot against each other, and when they say "novice," they mean just that. If you haven't shot at least one USPSA match, you're a novice, but if you came with no equipment just to watch you can borrow a gun and gear and shoot in the novice division. Last year, there was no revolver division, but auto shooters were downloading to 5 or 6 rounds to match a revolver opponent. The whole thing is an informal fun shoot among friends, and it's a great time. If I hadn't registered to be in Chicago tomorrow, I'd be there myself.
Have a great time, folks, be safe and enjoy the day.
It's dark out there, but it's time to go clean out my car so I can drive to Chicago in the morning. I'll be heading out at about 4:00 a.m. to make it in time to get started at the 2nd Amendment Legal Symposium 2009, sponsored by the NRA Foundation and the Federalist Society of Chicago.
If you're near enough and you get the urge to stop in, click on that link for all the details, but here's the important one to remember: everything from breakfast to admission to materials is free, so just register and show up and you're good to go.
In June 2008, for instance, the Chicago public school district used over 1200 buses and drivers to bus a reported 30,000 students from all over the city to Soldier Field, where they were allowed to watch a free performance by area musicians like rapper "Ben One." The catch? The performance was part of a political rally. The students had to sit through speeches by Arne Duncan, Richard Daley and Jesse Jackson, and these weren't innocuous pep talks about staying in school.
The man who was in charge of that mess is now the head of education for the federal government, and there's nothing particularly paranoid or racist about pointing it out. Click the big blue button to read the whole thing, and if you like it, please take a moment to pass it on or vote on Digg, Windycitizen.com or Reddit. Meanwhile, David Codrea, Gun Rights Examiner, asks "Can ATF be reformed?" He's not talking about recycling transmission fluid, but questioning the wisdom of an effort to "reform" the BATFE by legislation. I would add the question: "If the ATF can't be reformed, but it can't be abolished at present, is it worth it to pursue partial reforms, even knowing they won't really solve the problem? David's last piece covered the return of Carolyn McCarthy's "No Fly, No Buy" bill, which would bar anyone placed on the naughty list by the government from purchasing firearms. That's a big step to take based on a list you can be placed on without due process or even a reason given!
* Seeing the President of the United States referred to as "Mr. Obama" or "Mr. Bush" in the press irritates me. Maybe it says in some style manual that the President is referred to as "Mister," but screw that.
I've been pretty quiet about Obama's address to students. On the one hand, I do think a lot of people are investing way too much fury and emotion in this, because Obama now realizes that people don't trust him to talk to school kids, and I'm guessing he'll deliver a completely apolitical speech that will leave everyone who panicked looking silly.But I've been surprised at what I haven't heard anyone talk about: Arne Duncan, Barack Obama's Secretary of Education, and Chicago. If you wanted a reason to be worried about Barack Obama addressing schoolchildren in school, Arne Duncan would be the best one. Duncan spent years as the Superintendent of Chicago public schools, and I talked about his record of using Chicago public school students, buses, money and school days to hold political rallies and stump for legislation, both in Chicago and Springfield:
Use . . . your children well "As a school teacher, I wanted to write an angry rant about this, but what can I say that would embarrass people who haven't resigned after finding out that 49% of their students drop out before graduation? Arne Duncan is a fool, but he doesn't seem to mind being a fool. He appears to have embraced his inner fool, if you will. Chicago's schools have been giving kids the day off from school on the condition that they accept a free bus ride to an anti-gun protest (and protest on the desired side, of course) for years. Now they're going to bus them down to Springfield, on a school day, for the same purpose. . . . "
I can't believe this hasn't been widely discussed--if people were calling me a paranoid, crazy racist for thinking Barack Obama might try to score political points using school children, I'd want to know their opinion of Obama's Secretary of Education using his district budget to pay for busing students 175 miles to the state capital to demand money for his schools . . . to say nothing of gun control laws. I couldn't believe people weren't outraged at the time . . . but that's where we are, I suppose.
"The Chicago Way: Students are political pawns" Well, they did it. They bused in CPS students--the original article said 1,200 district buses would be used--to fill Soldier Field. They hired a rapper from Chicago (Ben One--never heard of him) and painted empty chairs to sit at midfield and stand for the 26 "CPS students" who've been killed this year, because as everyone knows, those people were killed by a lack of state funds and state-level gun control. Then they lined up Mayor Daley, Jesse Jackson, and the all the usual suspects (including Arne Duncan, the CPS Superintendent) and let them harangue the captive audience. In this case, the students have the power to come together and speak out--but only as long as they stay on Daley's carefully-scripted message. More state money for a district that spends money hiring rappers for rallies for more state money. More gun-control laws to cure violence in the city with the strictest gun control laws in the nation (well, after Heller v. D.C. is decided) and the highest rates of violence to go with it. Go along with this program, use your political power in approved ways, and you get a free bus ride to Soldier Field to listen to minor music stars--as long as you look respectful during the political harangues.
It just doesn't make sense to me that nobody seems to be making this connection.
I haven't had Abby, at Bad Dogs and Such, on the blogroll for very long, but I've been reading her off and on for a long time. She's back from Iraq, and although she's not really writing explicit "Johnny comes marching home" posts, she's writing about home and America and tomatoes and oak trees. The sheer joy of being home shines out through all the little gaps and crevices between each sentence like a lightning bug inside a child's loosely-curled fingers.
Illinois Carry is at it again, this time going back into Chicago to spread a pro-gun message at the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park. The idea here is to get past the gun show and the NRA banquet and start talking to people who aren't getting this message anywhere else. It's a direct challenge to Da Mayor, the Tribune, and the 6 O'Clock News.
If you like the idea of breaking stereotypes, there are two easy ways to help. First, if you live in the Chicago area, consider volunteering your own time to talk to people this weekend; local Chicago grassroots activists have stepped up to take over more and more of the local Chicago events, but more are always welcome. If you can't make it, or you simply live too far away, Illinois Carry is still accepting donations to pay for printing and booth rental. Unlike anti-gun groups who can count on the Joyce Foundation for easy money, pro-gun groups in Illinois operate on shoestring budgets, so donations are always welcome.
I'm not kidding about the donations, folks. There's no one making a salary at Illinois Carry; all the group's projects are funded by passing a hat in its forums. If you can spare a few dollars, you can have a big impact. These local Chicago projects are beginning to be taken over from the usual Illinois Carry suspects by local Chicago activists working in their own neighborhoods. In short, we may be seeing the beginning of a movement.