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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest By Barack Obama

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest.  Period.  If you just asked him, he’d tell you.  He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing. 

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing.  But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time. 

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston.  I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right.  A man who fought for us.  He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t.  His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing.  It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail.  But Ali stood his ground.  And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course.  For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved.  But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves.  Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.  We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest.  We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes. 

Muhammad Ali shook up the world.  And the world is better for it.  We are all better for it.  Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

Barack Obama

President of the United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tom Weisner's Decade of Destruction for East Aurora School District 131

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and the political mafia have exploited BILLIONS from taxpayers during the past decade for corrupt schemes and cronies while economic deterioration and poverty have dramatically increased.

Shame on everyone from who has looked the other way as a new generation has been exploited.

This is the result and legacy of Tom Weisner's decade of destruction for East Aurora School District 131.

East Aurora School District 131 and City of Aurora; Shame on Everyone

A decade of economic devastation, corruption, poverty, crime and horrific public policy by Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and his rich political mafia from corruption czar Bob Vaughan to corrupt cop Kristen Ziman has made the crisis at East Aurora School District 131 far worse and a national disgrace.

Shame on everyone who has looked the other way, allowed our children to be exploited and a generation's future adversely impacted.

There is a special place in hell, if not prison, waiting for the city and school officials who let this happen.

Friday, May 13, 2016

People vs Madigan

The people of Illinois want to change the state constitution so that lawmakers don't draw their own districts. House Speaker Mike Madigan is determined not to let that change happen.

Once again, a citizens' group has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to put a proposed redistricting amendment to a vote in November. And once again, Madigan's proxy has gone to court to try to block the measure.

Independent Maps, a nonpartisan coalition, raised $3.6 million and circulated thousands of petitions because lawmakers, who could put an amendment on the ballot without spending all that time or money, refuse to do so — for obvious reasons.

Those lawmakers cannot possibly harbor any doubts that their constituents want this change. Poll after poll after poll has shown an overwhelming majority of voters support having an independent commission draw the maps. The Independent Maps campaign is the third such attempt since 2010.

The group submitted its petitions last week, assembled in a single binder as required by law. It was 35 feet thick and contained twice the required number of signatures, the better to survive the inevitable challenge before the Illinois State Board of Elections.

That's separate from the attack launched Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. Michael Kasper, general counsel for the Illinois Democratic Party — chaired by Madigan — filed a lawsuit claiming the proposal runs afoul of the rules under which citizens can amend the constitution.

Delegates to the 1970 constitutional convention were careful not to give citizens broad power to rewrite the document. Most changes must originate through the General Assembly or at another convention. But the constitution specifically authorizes citizens to amend Article IV, which deals with the legislative branch. The framers knew lawmakers would resist changes that curbed their own powers.

The Independent Map Amendment is precisely the sort of change contemplated by the authors of the constitution. Partisan lawmakers have hijacked the once-a-decade redistricting process to serve their own interests, at voters' expense.

By manipulating the boundaries, they've rigged the maps to control the outcome of elections. That discourages competition, robs voters of choices and protects mediocre incumbents. Think we're exaggerating? All 118 seats in the Illinois House and 40 in the Senate are up for election this year. On the March 15 ballot, there were a mere 30 contested primaries.

The result is a dysfunctional General Assembly that takes its orders from party leaders, not from voters. That explains why the majority Democrats' general counsel is the go-to guy every time citizens try to wrest control of the map.

Just as he did in 2014, Kasper is arguing that the constitution — specifically the section that deals with amendments proposed by citizens — is too narrow to allow the redistricting measure.

The proposed amendment falls outside the legislative realm, supposedly, because it would assign mapmaking tasks to entities outside the General Assembly. (The plan relies on the state's auditor general to select a review panel to name the members of the redistricting commission, for example, and tweaks the Supreme Court's role in breaking a deadlock.)

Kasper also reprises arguments that an amendment must address both structural and procedural matters, and that this one doesn't change the structure of the General Assembly because the number of districts would remain unchanged. And on and on.

The language of the constitution has been twisted and tortured beyond reason by those gotcha arguments. The section that spells out how citizens can amend it might as well say that they can't.

That's the version Kasper is selling, at least. We hope the judge doesn't buy it this time.

-Chicago Tribune Editorial

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Obama Says Schools Must Allow Transgender Students to Use Any Bathroom or Locker Room; Aurora Police Palace May Follow Soon

Obama administration directs public schools they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

The directive is in formal guidance being sent to school districts Friday by the departments of Education and Justice.

Aurora Corrupt Cop Kristen Ziman "confused" on plan to implement similar policy forcing police officers at the $164 million Aurora Police Palace to use gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms.