Saturday, July 16, 2005

Paul Findley's Unrealistic Proposal

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Appearing in this weekend's Illinois State Journal Register is a letter submitted by former Congressman Paul Findley, of Jacksonville, Illinois. In his op-ed he proposes halting all aid to Israel.

Findley writes:

"Years ago, our government should have suspended all aid until Israel withdrew completely from Palestinian territory it seized in June 1967. The option remains available today. At the least, suspension of aid would liberate America from further complicity in Israel's misdeeds. At best, it would quell the insurgency in Iraq and prompt Israel to vacate stolen territory. But Bush seems totally detached from reality. So does Blair."

Mr. Findley's argument is that unless Israel immediately capitulates on U.S. demands over Israeli occupation of the West Bank we should simply cut off all Israeli aid. This is a radical suggestion, and holds little chance of working to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By cutting off aid to Israel, it is true we would send a powerful message to the Israeli government, and to its people. But Israel's back is already pushed against the wall. Terrorist attacks haven't softened Israeli resolve, quite the opposite. The use of terror against Israel has only radicalized its opposition to resolving the problem.

By cutting off U.S. aid the U.S. would lose its most important bargaining chip with Israel, and would only isolate, and make more radical its response to pressures to compromise with the Palestinians.

Better than cutting aid to Israel might be a suggestion to increase U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The increased aid, could be spent on building Palestinian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, and assistance to small businesses. The increase in aid would be tied to achieving a reduction in anti-Israeli propaganda, an increase in Palestinian led anti-terrorism efforts, including sharing anti-terrorism intelligence with Israel.

And yes, it does sound as if we are not asking much from Israel, but we need to take the long view on this issue. Israel is facing an uncertain fate. Israel will in the long run make concessions with the Palestinians, and perhaps at that time the Palestinians will have the leadership willing to compromise with Israel. It's only a matter of time, and the U.S. can help the process only if it stays actively engaged with both sides.

And if anyone has any doubts about the wisdom of attempting to isolate a nation into submitting to U.S. will, we need only look sixty miles off the shores of Florida. An economic embargo still remains in effect after more than forty years, and it hasn't worked to end the Castro regime. Only Castro's death will do that. Furthermore Cuba's resolve is based upon the fears of just one man, and his circle of thugs, while Israeli resolve is based upon the very real fears on an entire nation.

Findley's suggestion, although bold, translates into unrealistic appeasement of those who vow to destroy Israel first, and then the Great Satan when they're done with Israel.

Click here to learn more about Findley's wrangling with AIPAC. I'm not sure which is more disturbing, the excerpts from Findley's book (click on the prior link), or this sweet picture of President Bush holding hands with Saudi Prince Abdullah.

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Lincoln Home Boardwalk Repair

Walking through the 19th Century, I was treated with a bit of history.
Workers were pulling up the wooden planks of the boardwalk in the Lincoln Home Historic Area in Springfield, Illinois.

The Lincoln Home attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. While true that the boardwalk was not present when Abraham Lincoln resided here, I suspect he would have approved. Foot travel must have been difficult in those days. Imagine the mud covered streets on a rainy day, especially with horse drawn carriages cutting deep trenches into the soft rain soaked soil.

I snapped some photographs below.

A carpenter is preparing planks on her workbench.

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Revealed is a modern tangle of electric lines, telephone lines, cable television lines, and power lines which run under the boardwalk.

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I like this photo best. The planks used are not brand new. They already have a "historic" look even before they are installed - good touch.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

For God & Country

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Photo: American Legion Vet - PCCC - Springfield, IL - July, 2005

The Illinois Chapter of the American Legion has been holding their 2005 annual state convention at the Prarie Capitol Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois.

I took the opportunity to chat with one Legionaire, whose photo (with permission to both snap, and post to my blog) I include above.

From his looks I'd say Korea, but no he told me, he was a Vietnam vet.

He looked tired. Perhaps it was the price he paid serving his nation so many years ago, or perhaps it was just age, and the road trip to Springfield.

Like a resoureful soldier he had picked out a spot along the brick wall that runs in front of the Convention Center - just perfect for sitting in the shade. A good place to recoup.

His uniform was perfectly tended, no speck of dust, no badge misplaced. He cared.

He was a kind man, and happily agreed to talk with me.

His bloodshot eyes sparkled with excitement, as he explained that next month he would be attending the National Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. He dutifully explained that he would be representing Illinois, his pride apparent as he informed me that there were millions of members in the American Legion.

I wanted to sit down awhile, to hear his war stories, but I had to be going. With only minutes of lunch time to spare I could not be late getting back to my mundane job. I knew I had lost out on an opportunity.

So I'll post it here, Thanks for serving!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Georgian Soldier Story

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Photo: The Georgian - Shortly Before Demolition - Springfield, Illinois

Jim Leach has posted an article on the pending demise of The Georgian.
Here's a memory I have of a dinner there in the early 1970's.

A conversation with a soldier just home from basic training, on his way to Vietnam..

The soldier was a friend of my parents.

Setting: The Georgian.

Me (young boy): What are those, dog tags?

Soldier: They're for Identification purposes.

Me: Can I look at them, they're not like my dad's WWII dog tags.

Soldier: Sure, you can look at them.

Me: Why is this side blank?

Soldier: To help Identify you.

Me: But it's blank?

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Photo: The Georgian - 9th & Jefferson - Springfield, Illinois - 07.2005

Soldier: Well they put it into your mouth between your upper, and lower teeth to get the impression of your teeth.

Me: Wow! I hope I can go to Vietnam too when I grow up!

Soldier: Right.

Me: But how does your teeth make marks on this metal?

Soldier: You have to kick the lower jaw.

Me: But wouldn't that hurt?

Soldier: No.

Me: But why not?

Soldier: Son, when they use this on you, you're not feeling anything.

Me: But why not?

Soldier: Cause Your Already Dead. (echoes: DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD).

Me: Oh.

He got lucky, and ended up in Germany.

I took some photos of The Georgian. The lot there will soon be part of a strip mall - or so a local business employee told me. The lot just south of The Georgian has already been cleared. And as you can see a crane has already been moved into position for The Georgian.

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Photo: The Georgian - Springfield, Illinois - July, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rove - A Brown Mass Has Arisen

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Dave, at The11thhour, has an excellent commentary on the Karl Rove CIA Scandal.

It appears that none other than Bush Political Hack Karl Rove has been fingered for having fingered one of our own CIA agents, Valerie Plames.

Rove outed the agent in an attempt to smear her husband (a U.S. Diplomat) for truthfully reporting that the nation of Niger wasn't exporting uranium to Iraq.

Not only is identifying CIA agents a violation of federal law, but the act was carried out against our own intelligence community during a time of war.

The motivation was purely political, and was part of an attempt to cover up the truth about the lies the Bush administration was casting about WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Those lies in turn were used to justify invading Iraq. A war that has cost this nation over three hundred billion dollars, and nearly two thousand American lives.

The Bush Administration is overflowing like a toilet. Yet another disgusting revelation floats to the surface.

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Presenting Koshi!

One Year Old. Koshi was named before we knew his gender. His actual name is Akasha. See an excellent article on Akasha here. Before you scoff at the concepts presented in the previous link compare them with cutting edge theoretical physics of the West presented in this Wikipedia article on Multiverse theory.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Locals Take Up Blogging - Again?

I'm recreating the article which mentions my blog here before it disappears from cyberspace - unlikely in the age of Google Caching - but you never know.

Locals Take Up Blogging


By
Dave Bakke
Contact Info.: 217- 788-1541 & dave.bakke@sj-r.com

Source: State Journal Register

Publication date: 2005-06-29

Anyone can have their own column. Just start a weblog.

The Springfield blogosphere is expanding. Maybe 10 new Springfield blogs have been created in the past month. The newest, LOOK BACK SPRINGFIELD, is only a couple of days old.

Whether you want to read about politics, love, details of bloggers' lives or Springfield history, it's there.

Published reports have estimated about 20,000 blogs a day are created. Some focus on particular subjects such as politics or pets. Others are more like personal diaries and can be poorly done, as I found.

I browsed through the 40-odd Springfield blogs I located on the Web. The authors of some of the blogs are apparent. Others do not give their names, for various reasons.

The quality of the blogs varies from addicting to godawful. The majority were lame. Many local blogs were along the lines of (and this is an actual quote), "I drank a lot last night and got really sick, dude."

Some of the local blogs have not been updated for weeks or months. Some people posted once and quit. But I also found good, local-issue-oriented blogs. Search for the blog names, and you will find them. They also feature links to other local blogs:

BLOGFREE SPRINGFIELD - Dan Naumovich's opinions about items from the local media, though I have yet to see any entries regarding Illinois Times or Channel 20. Usually the topic comes from either this newspaper or WMAY's talk shows. What I like about BlogFree is that Naumovich is fair and thoughtful in his comments. And he uses his name.

Naumovich says he intended to create his media blog as part of his work for his master's degree in communications. He did a different project to earn his degree, but then followed through on the blog idea a few months ago.

JEROMEPROPHET - Whoever he is, he just redesigned his site, and it was a big improvement. He has entries on the defunct Dairy Queen on MacArthur Boulevard and the bridge between the city's east and west administration buildings on Monroe Street. He wants the bridge down and DQ up.

THE ELEVENTH HOUR - Politics, local news and humor. Lots of links to other blogs of interest, both local and national. It is written by "Dave."

Jim Leach, WMAY morning host, has one called "ABELOG - A BLOG." He updates it as often as three or four times a day.

Dina, morning co-host at WDBR, has a blog as part of her radio station's Web site. DINA'S BLOG is a personal diary-type blog. Leach and the other WMAY hosts' blogs are more issue-oriented, in keeping with the themes of their shows.

"It's a marketing extension of the show," Leach says. He points out an anomaly in the local political blogs.

"I've noticed with a lot of the local blogs that they have a more liberal bent to them," he said. "I haven't seen any conservative ones, which is surprising given the politics of the area we live in."

That should inspire someone.

Many of the local bloggers are getting on the same page - literally. Many of them will be contributing to Look Back Springfield. Its subject is Springfield memories. The first topic, which appeared Tuesday, is Springfield Barber College's shoe- shiners of the 1960s.

Among the local personal-diary type blogs, I have written about Julie Burness's MIRRORS and it continues to be a favorite of mine. DISARRANGING MINE is another good, local one. Marie Carnes combines personal experiences with interesting photos from Springfield and occasionally gets into issues, such as care for the elderly.

Grace Smith, former columnist at Illinois Times and total theater creature, writes GRACE UNCENSORED. It is pretty much her IT column, just uprooted and moved to the Internet so if you miss her, go there and get Graced.

Naumovich says his site gets 70-80 readers a day, which gives you an idea how few people are reading these. But they are in their infancy, and those numbers will rise as word spreads.

There has to be ego in the blog mix somewhere. Otherwise, why would you think people care what you think about an issue or what you did last night? If you must post things about your life, your weekend, your boyfriend or your dog, you better lead an interesting enough life or be a good enough writer that people will want to read it. But, just like columnists, some are good and most are not.

It helps if you have something original to say or are a good storyteller because, believe it or not, the rest of the world doesn't care if you had too much too drink last night and got really sick. Dude.

The article appears online at BuilderOnline

Sunday, July 10, 2005

My Pease's Confession

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As a young boy living on what then was the southwest side of Springfield, Illinois. I had the good fortune of attending Blessed Sacrament School. Blessed Sacrament is a Catholic elementary school located at the corner of Glenwood & Laurel.

I grew up several blocks west of Blessed Sacrament on the west side of Macarthur Blvd., in Leland Grove.

It seemed my parents had chosen well; A nice safe neighborhood, with a church, and elementary school close enough for their children to walk to. Things were getting off to a good start. Or so my parents believed.

On my daily walks to, and from, Blessed Sacrament I immediately encountered temptation, for my path took me past the Pease's candy store.

I found the allure of the pleaure dome, which was Pease's, simply too great to pass up. I broke like a young sapling twisted by a great storm.

The charm of Pease's began the moment that I laid my innocent eyes upon the little store. An unassuming anchor to the neighborhood of which it is a part. What kind of people live there I wondered. Bathed within the warm pink neon glow of the Pease's sign, I knew that I was welcome within. The sweet smell of freshly made carmel covered popcorn tippy toed to the nearby sidewalk upon which I was standing. Brown sugar sweetness rushed toward me, wrapped its arms about me, and asked me softly to enter. What was a small boy to do?

Was this a sin I asked, the words barely audible.

No, it just couldn't be, it just felt too good! Heaven could wait, but Pease's Fine Candies, and Salted Nuts was an earthly pleasure I could no longer delay.

I soon found my way within the store, and taking one look around me I knew that by entering I must surely have committed a venial sin, and that with each passing moment I would spend yet another day in Purgatory.

Was not Man's fall from grace brought on by the temptation of the candy apple?

Tempation knew no bounds. Candies neatly arranged into visually vibrating rows of peculiar shaded pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, reds, and blues. Each promising a sinfully unique flavor experience. Hard candy, chewey candy, candy that melts in your hands, candy that drips down your chin.

Thus began my life of sin.

Forgive me, for I confess that my sins included the following pleasures;
Almond Joy, Baby Ruth, Bazooka Bubble Gum, Bit-O-Honey, Boston Baked Beans, Butterfingers, Candy Apples, Caramel Squares, Chuckles, Clark Bars, Goobers, Good & Plenty, Hershey Chocolate Bars, Hershey Kisses, Jaw Breakers, Jujubes, Jujyfruits, Junior Mints, Lemonheads, Licorice, Life Savers, Ice Cream Cones, Milk Duds, Mounds, Wax Syrup Bottles, Oh Henry Bars, Orange Slices, Pay Day Bars, Pez, Pop Corn Balls, Red Hots, Root Beer Barrels, Salt Water Taffy, Slo Pokes, Sugar Baby, Sugar Daddy, Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Wax Fangs, Wax Lips, Whoppers, Zagnut Bars, and Zero Bars.

Many obtained for a single penny with my lunch milk money no less!

I have heard of others who have fallen to temptations of drink, gambling, and the like, but somehow I managed to fight off all of these - not always successfully, I might add, but that's another story. Yet, Pease's charm has managed to seduce me, to bring me back time, and again to enjoy the forbidden pleasures of their sweets.

Let's see, that would be: three Hail Marys, three Our Fathers, and three Acts of Contritions.

Note: Thanks to OldTimeCandy.Com for the list (which I edited) of 50's, and 60's candies.

Also, to my consternation I discovered that it is against the policy of Pease's to allow photographs to be taken inside the store. Odd considering that each of their other stores has a huge plate glass window to allow unobstructed views to the goodies within. In fact the newest Pease's downtown has a huge window which allows passerbys to view the actual making of their candies - including an illustration on how the machines work.

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