Archive for June, 2008

Great headline, good story too

June 18th, 2008

J. Lo performs at elementary school graduation

(AP) Students at a Staten Island, New York, elementary school for autistic children sure like the way Jennifer Lopez moves.

Teacher Kathy Amati and a paraprofessional showed the video for Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” to the students at P.S. 37. The children liked it so much, they wanted to watch it every day. They learned the lyrics and the dance moves from the video.

With their teacher’s encouragement, they wrote to Lopez, hoping for pictures or an autograph. Instead, she asked to come to their graduation.

On Tuesday, the singer-actress performed “Let’s Get Loud” for a group of eight 10- and 11-year-olds at their graduation ceremony.

Separating facts from political rhetoric

June 10th, 2008

Especially in election season, selective use of facts to bend a story to meet the needs of a given party makes me crazy.  Be it from the Right or from the Left, I get disgusted and feel somewhat (relatively) hopeless when I see this tactic being used.  I witnessed it unfolding in my village recently; real chicken little – the sky is falling kind of stuff.  Makes my blood boil. 

I saw this article by Eric Zorn in the Tribune on the purported Obama-Rezko “scandal”.  If this is the most they can dig up on Barack, the fall presidential election should be landslide!  This is definitely worth a read & a share…

Let’s clarify the Obama deal with Rezko — a handy cheat sheet

John McCain didn’t borrow money from a guy going to jail to build his house....Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) discussing  Barack Obama on  Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulous.”

Perhaps Graham was simply confused. After all, there are many fine points to remember in the story of the land deal involving Obama and fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, and off-the-cuff summaries can blur the truth.

Obama didn’t borrow even a dime from Rezko to buy — not build — a house three years ago.

But now that Rezko is, in fact, “going to jail” — he’s actually already serving prison time after his conviction last week on federal corruption charges —  and Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president,  it’s time for a handy cheat sheet for pols and and pundits tempted to incorporate this tale into their campaign narratives.

So, for the gentleman from South Carolina and other befuddled parties, here are `08 things you need to knowabout how and why the Obamas and Rezkos purchased adjoining properties in the Kenwood neighborhood on the same day in June, 2005:

1.  The deal could have gone down without Rezko. 

While it’s true that the couple who sold the house to the Obamas and the adjoining vacant lot to Rezko’s wife required the deals to close on the same day, there was at least one other serious bidder on the lot.

2. The Obamas did not get a special discount on the  house. 

Yes, the original asking price was $1.95 million and the sale price was $1.65 million, but the sellers have confirmed that the sale price was the result of routine real estate negotiations and was the best offer they received on the house.

3. The sellers rejected two lower bids from the Obamas.

The Obamas first offered $1.3 million and then $1.5 million before agreeing with the sellers to the $1.65 million price.  

4.   The Rezkos did not pay an inflated price for the vacant lot.   

Obama has said his broker told him another interested party had already put in a bid on the lot at or close to the asking price of $625,000. No one has challenged this assertion.

5.  The Obamas did not get a special discount from the Rezkos when they later purchased a one-sixth strip of the vacant lot to enlarge their  yard. 

The price the Obamas paid, $104,500, was a neat one-sixth of the price of the lot and more than double the value Obama said his appraiser put on the strip. The remaining portion of the vacant lot reportedly sold earlier this year for $675,000.

6. The Obamas did not receive or borrow any money from the Rezkos to buy their house.  

They took out a $1.3 million mortgage and paid the balance with proceeds from Obama’s best-selling books.

7.  Obama hasn’t done any political or personal favors for Rezko  since this saga began.

 The lone example critics cite is that Obama allowed the son of a Rezko business associate to serve a one-month unpaid internship in his office in 2005.

8. The reason Obama is nevertheless correct in describing his actions here as “boneheaded” is that Rezko is and was a sleazeball.

Many of the warning signswere obvious in 2005 and Obama blew through them. 

That doesn’t reflect well on him,  I agree. But neither does it turn this otherwise ordinary real estate story into a scandal or excuse those who can’t or don’t want to keep the above facts straight.

I said 5 minutes flat; not 6, 10…90

June 3rd, 2008

My drivers license was due to expire tomorrow. I have been dreading a trip to the IL Secretary of State to take care of the renewal but with the deadline looming, had to bite the bullet.  I went to one of the “Express” facilities – essentially a small store front in Wheaton. I discovered this little gem when I moved to Lombard in 1999 and have tried to use them for Secretary of State (I refuse to call it DMV like in California) business ever since and here’s why:

I renewed my license, took a vision test, paid the fee (cash only, which in light of George Ryan’s demise is ironic), took my photo, and left the facility inside of 5 minutes start to finish!  I don’t mean 10 minutes or even 6 minutes – it was under 5 minutes flat.  There were more employees than customers as per usual for this facility, and it was bing-bam-boom and I’m on my way!  Gotta love it…

Jesse White

What’s Not To Like?

June 1st, 2008

Today is June 1st and the Cubs have the best win-loss record in Major League Baseball. 

Cubs win!