Friday, October 29, 2010

President Obama's Statement on the Terrorist Threat


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release October 29, 2010


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

4:22 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to briefly update the American people on a credible terrorist threat against our country, and the actions that we're taking with our friends and our partners to respond to it.

Last night and earlier today, our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, working with our friends and allies, identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States -- specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago. Those packages had been located in Dubai and East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom. An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material.

I was alerted to this threat last night by my top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan. I directed the Department of Homeland Security and all our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our citizens from this type of attack. Those measures led to additional screening of some planes in Newark and Philadelphia.

The Department of Homeland Security is also taking steps to enhance the safety of air travel, including additional cargo screening. We will continue to pursue additional protective measures for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens.

I've also directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting. Although we are still pursuing all the facts, we do know that the packages originated in Yemen. We also know that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terrorist group based in Yemen, continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies.

John Brennan, who you will be hearing from, spoke with President Saleh of Yemen today about the seriousness of this threat, and President Saleh pledged the full cooperation of the Yemeni government in this investigation.

Going forward, we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt plotting by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate. We'll also continue our efforts to strengthen a more stable, secure and prosperous Yemen so that terrorist groups do not have the time and space they need to plan attacks from within its borders.

The events of the past 24 hours underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism. As usual, our intelligence, law enforcement and Homeland Security professionals have served with extraordinary skill and resolve and with the commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand. We're also coordinating closely and effectively with our friends and our allies, who are essential to this fight.

As we obtain more information we will keep the public fully informed. But at this stage, the American people should know that the counterterrorism professionals are taking this threat very seriously and are taking all necessary and prudent steps to ensure our security. And the American people should be confident that we will not waver in our resolve to defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates and to root out violent extremism in all its forms.

Thank you very much.

END 4:26 P.M. EDT

Statement of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Terror Threat

Last night, intelligence and law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States. Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in London and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports.

The President was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:30, by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism. The President directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting. The President has received regular updates from his national security team since he was alerted to the threat.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailout Could Cost Twice As Much

The federal bailout for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could more than
double in size during the next three years, according to projections
from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The federally controlled mortgage giants will likely need at
least another $73 billion and perhaps as much $215 billion from
taxpayers in the next three years to meet their financial obligations.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mike Labno, Libertarian Candidate for US Senate (IL) Responds to Partial Senatorial Debate


Last night, two of the four candidates for the US Senate were invited
to debate before the cameras by The League of Women voters which, to
its discredit, prevented viewers from hearing all the options
that will be available to them on the ballot, Nov 2.

The two candidates who were allowed to appear mostly traded jibes and
misleading half-truths, which gave voters no real idea of their
positions on the issues, which are clearly less important to them than
their images.

While Mark Kirk's views are hard to pin down, Alexi Giannoulias'
mistaken idea that the Constitution of the United States, and the
principles of strictly limited Federal power and checks and balances
central to it, are open to review and revision was alarming.

It is hard to say whose interests are served by "debates" like this
one, but it is clearly not the Illinois voter's.

Rasmussen Poll Shows Kirk Leads Giannoulias by 4 points

NOTE -- This is from Rasmussen, but the poll was taken before the Ch 7 televised debate. Clearly, this is one of the most competitive Senate races in the nation this year... Illinois Channel


Republican Congressman Mark Kirk is now barely ahead of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois’ up-and-down race for the U.S. Senate.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Kirk picking up 44% of the vote, while Giannoulias, the current state treasurer, draws 40% support. Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones earns the vote from four percent (4%) of voters, and eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate. Five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The race is still a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. The survey was taken the night before their second head-to-head debate.

The race was a virtual tie last week, when Giannoulias picked up 44% of the vote to Kirk's 43%. Highlighting the closeness of this contest is the fact that Kirk and Giannoulias have now run within four points or less of each other in 10 surveys since early June. Jones' support has held steady at four percent (4%) for the last three surveys.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Party Suggests Chicago Ballot Spelling Error, May Be Intentional


Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry will be on hand at a Chicago Board
of Elections press conference to take questions from the media
regarding a spelling error with the city's electronic voting machines.
It was discovered earlier this week that the last name of Green Party
gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney was spelled "Whitey" on
electronic voting machines throughout the city.

"We have been a victim of election shenanigans in the past in Chicago,
especially in the 2008 primary when voters were denied Green Party
ballots throughout the city. We are looking forward to hearing how
this problem was caused, and what solutions the Board of Elections has
come up with to fix this, so all voters and candidates can be assured
a fair election," said Huckelberry.

The press conference will be held at the 69 W Washington, 8th Floor
Conference Room, 3 p.m. (subject to change without notice).
Huckelberry, along with Cook County Green Party Chair Alberto
Bocanegra, and candidate for Treasurer Scott Summers, who is also an
attorney, will be available during and after the press conference to
take questions.

Author on John Wilkes Booth, to speak at the Lincoln Presidential Museum

SPRINGFIELD - Thanks to Nora Titone, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination will never be viewed the same way again.

Titone has penned her first book, My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy, and will appear for her first public book discussion and signing Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. The event is free, but advance reservations must be made by calling (217) 558-8934.

Titone, a former researcher for famed Lincoln historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, has provided readers with a new perspective on what caused John Wilkes Booth to pull the trigger that fateful night at Ford’s Theater. By looking through the Booth family’s letters, journals and artifacts, Titone has uncovered the long-hidden struggles John Wilkes Booth faced leading up to the assassination. He struggled to live in the shadows of his famous yet troubled father, the actor Junius Brutus Booth. This set the stage for another battle between John and his brother, the equally famous actor Edwin Booth, the climax of which lead John turn the gun on Lincoln.

Titone’s book features a foreword by Goodwin and will show readers that while the Civil War may have played a part, it was not the sole factor in John Wilkes Booth’s decision to assassinate Lincoln.

Titone studied American History and Literature at Harvard University and went on to earn her M.A. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked previously as a historical researcher and currently lives in Chicago.

John Wilkes Booth is featured in several areas of the Lincoln Presidential Museum. He lurks by the White House in the Museum’s central plaza area; he can be seen sneaking into the Presidential booth at Ford’s Theater; and he plays a role in “Lincoln’s Eyes,” one of two theater shows in the Museum. In addition, original artifacts from the assassination are on display on a rotating basis in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery.

For more information about programs and exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sen Brady Supports DOJ Investigation Into IL's Failure to Send Ballots to Military Service Members

Chicago – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady tonight [Oct 13 ]released the following statement regarding news of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the delay of absentee ballots to overseas members of the United States Military:

“I am deeply concerned about today’s disturbing report that Illinois may have failed to mail absentee ballots to our military members serving overseas in a timely manner, and in accordance with the law,” Brady said. “The U.S. Department of Justice is right to conduct a full and immediate investigation.

“The Federal Government and the state of Illinois have the responsibility to take any and all action to ensure the right of those who defend our freedom overseas to cast their votes in this important election. Failure to act on this disturbing report threatens the integrity of this election, and our democratic process.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pensions -- The Issue that Can No Longer Be Swept Under the Rug

by Terry Martin

One of my biggest mistakes was NOT writing the book I began in 1994 on the coming collapse in publicly funded pension systems. Called "The Pension Eclipse" and based on my Masters Thesis, it was going to lay out how there were far too many promises made to ever be realized. This was long before I ever knew I was coming to Illinois.

The largest point is that one must factor in the cost of ALL of the taxpayer supported pensions, and what that means to one taxpayer. A citizen of Chicago for example, pays taxes to support Soc Sec, Federal workers retirement, State workers, County workers, and local Fire, Police and civil servants. In addition, they have to underwrite the govt's bailout of private pensions that go bellyup.

When you add it all up -- that taxpayer would have to be taxed at such a rate to make good on those obligations, that he/she wouldn't be able to support themselves! Thus, publicly funded pension will Eclipse all other spending issues, until govts reform them, and quit trying to finance their way out of the insatiable black hole, that are our publicly funded pension systems T'aint enough money to around to make it possible. It's simply an issue of fishes and loaves... and too large a crowd.

Pretending we can pay full pensions, to all that have had promises made to them at the Federal, State, and local level -- is to continue the lie of the last 40 years. It doesn't help those who are expecting a pension, to have their system go under. The fact is -- we can make adjustments to decrease benefits, while asking taxpayers to pay a bit more. We can make some other tweaks that spread the pain out over more years. But there is no escaping that pain is on the way. And the longer we wait to face these inescapable facts... the greater the pain will be to those who were promised benefits beyond financial reason... or simple math.

UIS to Host Author James Swanson to Discuss His Book on Lincoln

WHAT: Author James L. Swanson will speak about his new book Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln 's Corpse. The discussion will be hosted by Dr. Michael Burlingame, Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS.

WHEN: Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Brookens Auditorium on the lower level of Brookens Library

DETAILS: In Bloody Crimes, James L. Swanson the Edgar Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt - brings to life two epic events of the Civil War era: the thrilling chase to apprehend Confederate president Jefferson Davis in the wake of the Lincoln assassination and the momentous 20 -day funeral that took Abraham Lincoln’s body home to Springfield. A true tale full of fascinating twists and turns, and lavishly illustrated with dozens of rare historical images - some never before seen - Bloody Crimes is a fascinating companion to Swanson’s Manhunt and a riveting true-crime thriller that will electrify civil war buffs, general readers, and everyone in between.
Swanson has degrees in history from the University of Chicago, where he was a student of John Hope Franklin, and law from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C., including at the United States Department of Justice. He serves on the advisory council of the Ford’s Theatre Society.

His other books include the acclaimed photographic history Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution, as well as Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. James L. Swanson was born on Lincoln’s birthday.

For more information contact Dr. Michael Burlingame at 217/299-9306 or email This event is free and open to the public.

White House Says Moratorium on Gulf Drilling to be Lifted Soon

WASHINGTON -- The White House said Tuesday the government will lift a moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico "very soon" - likely this week.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the government is close to having the plans in place to lift the ban that was imposed after the massive Gulf oil spill.