Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't invite all the kids to your party, get charged with discrimination

Yep, you heard me correctly. A school confiscated an 8-year-old boy's birthday party invitations after they were handed out during class because it said it had a duty to ensure against discrimination. The boy handed out invitations to classmates at his school in Lund, southern Sweden, but did not invite two boys because they were not his friends (one did not invite him to a previous party and the other bullied him), the Sydsvenskan newspaper and Associated Press reported earlier this week. The school, 360 miles south of Stockholm, confiscated all the invitations, saying it objected because it had a duty to ensure against discrimination.

OK, now how jacked up is that? Your kid doesn't invite the whole class, and he is being charged with discrimination. Isn't this being a little bit too politically correct, particularly at the age of eight? What do you think?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So much for E85

This ought to be good news for Buzz and Chris Hedges, they've been watching E85 prices for the last couple months.

While Audi is over there planning to produce an electric car within the next decade, Mercedes-Benz is hoping to be completely petro free within seven years. At least that's the word according to a recent report in The Sun. Dr. Herbert Kohler, who is responsible for Mercedes' advanced engineering, has reportedly suggested that "by 2015 motorists will have switched almost completely to alternative fuel cars." In order to make sure it's not left out, the automaker already has an electric car in the works for 2010 as well as plans to use its DiesOtto engine which will give motorists the ability to use biofuels should they choose. Still, aiming to phase petroleum completely out of its lineup by 2015 sounds overly ambitious from here, but we certainly won't complain if it achieves said goal.

From: Engadget by way of AutoblogGreen

Don't Forget Independance is a Fight

Let’s Not Forget!!!

Blogger Chris Sloan is using his site this week to post videos as a tribute to America, patriotism and the Fourth of July. Head over and watch the first one now (a tribute to 9/11) and keep an eye open for the rest this week.

My favorite image is that of the Boston Tea Party. Infuriated by taxes, a government that cared more about itself than its constituents, and elimination of freedoms ... they made a point, albeit illegal according to British Law, that Americans stand for freedom. (that is unless you're Hispanic and then we change the rules - sorry had to say that)

"The tea destroyed was contained in three ships, lying near each other at what was called at that time Griffin's wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships of war, the commanders of which had publicly declared that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to the landing of the tea before a certain day, the 17th day of December, 1773, they should on that day force it on shore, under the cover of their cannon's mouth.

"On the day preceding the seventeenth, there was a meeting of the citizens of the county of Suffolk, convened at one of the churches in Boston, for the purpose of consulting on what measures might be considered expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or secure the people from the collection of the duty. At that meeting a committee was appointed to wait on Governor Hutchinson, and request him to inform them whether he would take any measures to satisfy the people on the object of the meeting. "To the first application of this committee, the Governor told them he would give them a definite answer by five o'clock in the afternoon. At the hour appointed, the committee again repaired to the Governor's house, and on inquiry found he had gone to his country seat at Milton, a distance of about six miles. When the committee returned and informed the meeting of the absence of the Governor, there was a confused murmur among the members, and the meeting was immediately dissolved, many of them crying out, "Let every man do his duty, and be true to his country"; and there was a general huzza for Griffin's wharf.

"It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.

"When we arrived at the wharf, there were three of our number who assumed an authority to direct our operations, to which we readily submitted. They divided us into three parties, for the purpose of boarding the three ships which contained the tea at the same time. The name of him who commanded the division to which I was assigned was Leonard Pitt. The names of the other commanders I never knew.

"We were immediately ordered by the respective commanders to board all the ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. The commander of the division to which I belonged, as soon as we were on board the ship appointed me boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging.

"We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.

Click to enlarge: The Boston Tea Party

In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.

"We then quietly retired to our several places of residence, without having any conversation with each other, or taking any measures to discover who were our associates; nor do I recollect of our having had the knowledge of the name of a single individual concerned in that affair, except that of Leonard Pitt, the commander of my division, whom I have mentioned. There appeared to be an understanding that each individual should volunteer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the consequence for himself. No disorder took place during that transaction, and it was observed at that time that the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for many months.

"During the time we were throwing the tea overboard, there were several attempts made by some of the citizens of Boston and its vicinity to carry off small quantities of it for their family use. To effect that object, they would watch their opportunity to snatch up a handful from the deck, where it became plentifully scattered, and put it into their pockets.

"One Captain O'Connor, whom I well knew, came on board for that purpose, and when he supposed he was not noticed, filled his pockets, and also the lining of his coat. But I had detected him and gave information to the captain of what he was doing. We were ordered to take him into custody, and just as he was stepping from the vessel, I seized him by the skirt of his coat, and in attempting to pull him back, I tore it off; but, springing forward, by a rapid effort he made his escape. He had, however, to run a gauntlet through the crowd upon the wharf nine each one, as he passed, giving him a kick or a stroke.

"Another attempt was made to save a little tea from the ruins of the cargo by a tall, aged man who wore a large cocked hat and white wig, which was fashionable at that time. He had sleightly slipped a little into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him and, taking his hat and wig from his head, threw them, together with the tea, of which they had emptied his pockets, into the water. In consideration of his advanced age, he was permitted to escape, with now and then a slight kick.

"The next morning, after we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities of it were floating upon the surface of the water; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being saved for use, a number of small boats were manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched it as to render its entire destruction inevitable."

---- George Hewes, an eyewitness

Friday, June 27, 2008

Building Indiana - Blog on NW Indiana Business

The new BIN is out!

Another edition should come out tomorrow, I'll update link then

The May/June issue of Building Indiana News is now available! Click here to check it out online, and keep on eye on the mail–it should be arriving at your home any day now!

This issue has a lot of great stuff–articles on the Build Indiana Conference, the CAF and NWIBRT Awards, and some really interesting stuff on food production in Indiana and on foreign trade zones and how they affect you. Also great info on Hammond in Lifelong Learning, and the Commmunity Spotlight is on Dyer.

If you can, take a minute to check it out and let us know what you think!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tattooed Freak?

This guy brings a whole new meaning to the term "tattooed freak." Believe it or not, this guy teaches college. Meet Mr. Potts:

What do you think about this? (No it is not a joke -- it's real). Do you think tattoos detract from professional appearance? Not just blatant ones like this guy, what about tattoos on peoples' arms or hands? Just wondering...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cubs 7, White Sox 1

Starter Ryan Dempster allowed just one run in eight-plus innings to improve to 9-0 at Wrigley Field this season, as the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of their Windy City rivals. The win was the Cubs' 14th straight at home.

Didn't mean to take so long to post this... things are getting busy for me. Sorry about that!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cubs beat Sox in game 2, four more games to go

Jim Edmonds hit two home runs as part of a nine-run fourth inning as the Chicago Cubs defeated the White Sox, 11-7, in the second of a three-game interleague series at Wrigley Field. After that we have three more games at Comiskey.. er... I mean U.S. Cellular... er... I mean US Comiskular Park! (Just playing, I like to call it that).

The Cubs have now won 13 straight games at Wrigley. We'll see if they have as much luck on US Comiskular turf... The Cubs will start Ryan Dempster (8-2) in the series finale on Sunday, while the White Sox will counter with Javier Vazquez (7-5). The Cubs have won five straight and eight of their last nine encounters with the White Sox, including six of seven tilts held in 2007. The Cubs are 82-83 all-time in interleague play and improved to 31-8 at Wrigley this season. The Cubs placed starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a minor strain in his right shoulder and recalled Patterson from Triple-A Iowa. Edmonds became only the third Cubs player in franchise history to hit two homers in an inning.

Cubs beat Sox in game one, five more to go

Cubs 4, White Sox 3 was the final score in yesterday's game. Chicago is buzzing with excitement as its two teams play each other six times over a ten day period. Derrek Lee and Ramirez tied the game with back-to-back homers in the seventh off Octavio Dotel. Ramirez then sent Wrigley Field into an uproar with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth that gave the weary Cubs a 4-3 victory. A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye of the White Sox both hit homers.

The Cubs announced that Carlos Zambrano, who had to leave his previous start Wednesday with a sore shoulder, has a minor strain. He had an MRI on Friday. The Cubs will determine today what course of action to use for Zambrano, who will miss his next start Tuesday. The Cubs are now 30-8 at home. Dotel had allowed just two homers in 33⅓ innings entering the game.

It's going to be an interesting week in Chicagoland!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cubs v Sox - The War is on this weekend


For those of you who hail from other parts of the state, we Northwest Indiana folks just may consider ourselves to be more Chicagoans than Hoosiers. I mean you got that whole silly time change thing going on that Mitch started while we have always been on central time. We have the Bears while the rest of you have the Colts. We have the Cubs and Sox and you have, uh…well you have the Colts. We haven’t cared about the Bulls since Michael Jordan left. We think that we have a professional hockey team somewhere around here but darned if anyone knows about them.

From Southshore Progressive, go to article to vote for your choice.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iowa Homeowners Experience Police State

I've noticed that a lot of Iowa homeowners are angry because the police will not let them enter their homes to assess the damage, claiming it is too dangerous. Not only that, but police are kicking in people's doors and searching the homes under the guise of "assessing safety." Sounds a lot like unwarranted searches to me, particularly when they are damaging the homes by breaking windows and doors in order to gain entry -- when the homeowner could simply use the key and let them in. The homeowners are being arrested for trying to go home.

It doesn’t matter if there’s a flood, earthquake, tornado or an invasion by space aliens, the Constitution is still the supreme law of the land. The government does not have the right to block law abiding citizens from their own private property regardless of the situation. If someone wants to die in their home, they have that right. I know that may sound ridiculous, but where do we draw the line? If the government determines what is safe for us and whether or not we can go home... where does it end?

What is really insane about this whole deal is that while people are not allowed to access their homes, these inspectors from the government are allowed to wander around to people’s property for safety purposes. This is a recipe for corruption. How can people be assured that their homes are not being looted by these so called government officials? Governments have time and time again proven to be one of the most corrupt and criminal institutions in the history of mankind. If you don’t believe this to be true, take a look at the looting and pillaging that is currently taking place by the crooks in the federal government.

In Iowa City, the Mayor actually ordered hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. This government bureaucrat has no right to order people to leave their private property regardless of the situation. If people believe the conditions are unsafe, they’ll leave, if not, they’ll stay. It is up to the individual to make that decision, not the government.

A little fourth amendment review may be in order:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Am I wrong? Am I being too extreme? I was involved in checkpoint operations during Hurricane Katrina. We kept sightseers from accessing ravaged areas, but if your driver's license proved that you lived there, we let you in. That is how it should be. It may not be popular, and you may even be trying to help people -- but they have a right "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Spotlight on... Jim Foley

I am headlining this post one more day. Jim Foley is a freelance journalist and writer embedded in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and the 76th Indiana National Guard unit. He maintains a great blog about his experiences at I've been reading his blog for about a month now, and I decided to interview him and feature his blog here at NWI Connect. I'd highly recommend that you read his blog for the inside scoop on what's going on in Iraq, and to hear how Indiana soldiers are making a difference in the War on Terror.

I'll post the questions I asked him in bold, and then his responses in standard text.

Do you go by Jim or James? Where did you grow up / where are you from currently (when not in Iraq)? "My name is Jim Foley. I grew up in New Hampshire and currently live in Chicago."

What city and base are you currently stationed at in Iraq? What is the primary mission of the unit(s) with whom you are embedded? "I came over with the 76th Combat Team of the Indiana National Guard. They are stationed at a handful of large supply bases in Northern Iraq. The soldiers main job is providing convoy security for supplies going to and from these major bases. This kind of mission requires concentration and endurance, as they can last 8-12 hours on dangerous roads that are frequently planted with IEDs." [IED stands for "Improvised Explosive Device, i.e. roadside bombs].

What influences throughout your life have piqued your interest in journalism? When did you know that you'd like to write for a living? "I always loved stories. I loved people. Later I loved travel and meeting different kinds of people through teaching. I've always tried to write for a living, but fiction is very difficult to make a living off of. Journalism seemed like a good fit for me. I went back to school in January of 2007 for a one year masters in Journalism." What did you teach? "I taught secondary through junior high and high school in Arizona, Social Studies and English as a Second Language. I most recently taught at Cook County Boot Camp in Chicago, a 4-month discipline and education program for adult offenders."

What past influences have you had with the military (prior service, family members, friends, current events, etc.)? What made you decide to work as an embedded journalist with an Indiana Army National Guard unit? "I had a brother who came over to Iraq with the Air Force. We originally got into some arguments, as I made my case against the war and he made his case for doing his duty. I realize now that many of my comments were pretty stupid, especially for a guy who had no choice whether he was heading to Iraq or not.

My interest in going to cover the Indiana National Guard was based around the Guard's high recruiting rate in Indiana. For several years Indiana was beating out California and Texas for number of Guard recruits to the military. This is fascinating for a state that is 12th in population nationally to be 1st in military recruiting."

What is one of your favorite things or most memorable experiences from your current tour in Iraq? What is something you abhor about being in Iraq, or is there a negative experience that you'd like to share? "The best thing is just seeing the regular soldier who has been given a tremendous amount of responsibility- i.e. the life of his brother soldier. A soldier who works in bad conditions, whether they be small bases or on the road all night, but is alert and professional. These guys for the most part believe in what they're doing, they support each other and will give the shirt off their back to anyone who comes over to try to cover what they do.

One of my favorite stories is of two 76th Guardsmen from Alpha 1/293rd Infantry. One night they were escorting some fuel tankers to another base and one of the tankers overturned and was gushing gas everywhere. These two 76th soldiers, Cpl. Collins and Spc. Villegas, both firemen by career, ran to pull this guy out from being pinned behind a steering wheel. They stopped his bleeding, and when his vital signs started to fail the platoon called in a medivac helicopter and probably saved his life. He wasn't even an American, but they treated him like one.

The sad stuff is of course the state of the Iraqi economy which means its peoples' standard of living. The U.S. Army and reconstruction efforts have improved infrastructure, have focused on schools, and have done a tremendous job on day to day security. But on a daily basis many Iraqi people are living just above the level of starvation."

What were some of your biggest expectations prior to coming to Iraq? How have those expectations been proven true or false? Were your preconceived notions of the country and situation generally true, or did you experience a 'paradigm shift' once on ground for awhile? "My preconceived notions were generally all wrong -- either based from pure fantasy or reading too many mainstream press accounts of violence and believing too little of the reconstruction stories.

I've been to almost every city in Sal Ah Din- a primarily Sunni province where Saddam Hussein was from. Obviously it used to be an area filled with insurgents. Things have changed. The rise of Sons of Iraq, who are basically an armed militia paid for by the US Army to guard their own neighborhoods and roadways, have made a huge difference in driving insurgents out of communities. Some cities you couldn't even walk through before, now they have a shopping district once again.

I just interviewed a Lieutenant Colonel who has helped train the Iraqi Army for the past year. He said that everywhere he has gone, Iraqis have told him that Al Qaeda is in retreat. As an ideology it is dead to Iraqis: one, because Al Qaeda targetted Iraqi civilians as well; two, because it is not economically viable. Not when the average low-level insurgent can now join the Sons of Iraq or the Iraqi Army, Police, for a much better salary and not have to constantly be on the run."

Thanks Jim for interviewing with us and for covering our troops! "Anything else let me know. I truly appreciate it the more I see what your doing with your site. Very nice."

Once again, I recommend that you read his blog for the inside scoop on what's going on in Iraq, and to hear how Indiana soldiers are making a difference in the War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Check it out at!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tiger Woods wins his 14th Major at US Open

In a sudden death overtime win, after 18 holes of playoff today, Tiger Woods completes his 14th major title. Some thoughts:

  • Rocco Mediate is a terrific spokesman for the game of golf, his poise and charisma were powerful. I hope to see him again in another major, perhaps even a win
  • Tiger Woods shows again that even when he's injured he is the best golfer on the planet
  • The game of golf is the big winner, a game of rules that are followed and not cheated, a game where the best is only as good as his or her last outing.
Other posts of note:

Woods brings out top ratings for US Open
US Open = Hole-In-One For City

I watched and was logged into Twitter for the last few holes and the sudden death hole. On a business Monday twitter was crazy with posts. It didn't matter who you wanted to win, today Golf won.

Spotlight on... TwitterFox

I began using a nifty Twitter service known as TwitterFox. It appears as a small "t" in the bottom right hand of Mozilla Firefox (only available as an extension for that browser). When you have new tweets, the number of new tweets is displayed next to the t. Here is what the t looks like in my browser:

Then you can click on it to view and write tweets to twitter. Pretty simple to use and it makes twittering easy whenever I have Firefox open -- I don't have to check for updates, it does all of that for me. A shot of it open in my browser:

No, I'm not getting paid to advertise for them. I just thought TwitterFox is neat. Check it out!

BlogIndiana Conference in Indianapolis

Looking to connect with other Indiana bloggers? The School of Informatics at IUPUI in Indianapolis, IN is hosting Indiana's first conference on blogging and social media. Click the image above or below for more information. A countdown will also be in the sidebar until the event.
Blog Indiana 2008

Indiana Blogger Census

Hat tip to Christopher Hedges for the heads up! Take the Indiana Blogger Census! Click here to be included!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Energy as the next Manhattan Project

Diana posted at Porter County - Northwest Indiana Politics today a rant about Congress mandating that we use a specific lightbulb The light bulb police are coming!

I commented back that I believe we will innovate our way to new frontiers, but perhaps there was no reason to do so until gasoline reached $4.00

Then later today I ran into this story in a couple places: Scientists find bugs that eat waste, and excrete petrol. Serious! That's the genius of American ingenuity. We will find so much energy that it will break the backs of the little demand crisis we're in right now and I think gasoline will free fall back to $1.50

Think I'm crazy?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Democrat for Governor chooses running mate

JLT Picks her running mate

According to democratic insiders, Jill Long Thompson will announce her running mate on Monday:

State Rep. Dennie Oxley II sings gospel music in quartets, but now he'll be part of a duet -- as the running mate to Democratic nominee for governor Jill Long Thompson.

Oxley, 37, did not return calls Friday seeking comment, and Long Thompson would only say that she'll discuss her choice on Monday, during a series of news conferences around the state. However, other Democrats, including House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, confirmed that Oxley is Long Thompson's choice.

From Indianapolis Star
With HT to Hoosier Access
Cross Posted to (Indy Hardball and Porter County Politics)

Tonight is the Corn Roast in CP!!!

Tonight is the annual Corn Roast in Crown Point, Indiana from 4pm until 11pm. The event fills the Square with folks from all over Lake County, and usually has tons of great food, bands, and a beer garden. My wife and I will be floating around tonight. Tonight is also the grand opening of Crown Brewing, from 6pm until 12am -- Crown Point's first very own microbrewery! I'll definitely be checking that out tonight. The brewery is directly across the street from the bowling alley on East St., the same street that the post office is on. A coworker informed me that they have already set a tent up for patrons tonight. See you on the Square!

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS: The arts and crafts show will be from 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. The Taste of Crown Point is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 20 and 21 on the Square also. Retailers in downtown Crown Point also will have a sidewalk sale July 11 and 12. See the Northwest Indiana Times for more upcoming events.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Read an entire book - 140 characters at a time

Read Books via Twitter

DailyLit is a nifty service that will deliver entire books to you over email in small, manageable bits. The idea is to read a tiny bit of the book every day until it's finished. Now, DailyLit has announced support for Twitter.

The first books available to read over Twitter are Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, 100 Ways to Succeed//Make Money by Tom Peters, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Check it out:

If you aren't on twitter yet, try it out! Twitter

A New Name For Pluto

As the logo for this site suggests, NWI Connect strives to connect Northwest Indiana with the rest of the world. This time around, we're going to connect you out of this world!

Pluto, no longer classified as a planet as of 2006, is now being called a "plutoid," along with other mini-planets. According to a Reuters article on the matter, "Plutoids will be defined as celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun farther away than Neptune. They must have near-spherical shape, and must not have swept up other, smaller objects in their orbits...."

So to review from your fifth grade science class astronomy lesson, our solar system consists of the Sun, eight official planets, and at least three "plutoids," or dwarf-planets. Can you name all eight planets and one of the plutoids? Scroll down for the answer....

Keep scrolling...

Keep scrolling...

The inner solar system contains the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The planets of the outer solar system are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The known plutoids are Pluto and Eris.

Just thought you might find this interesting....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The "Turf War" Has Ended

Earlier today I posted about the turf war in Lake County: how Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez's work-release workers had stopped cutting the lawn in front of the Lake County Community Corrections program. I'm happy to say that the turf war has ended, and the grass has been mowed (I checked myself).

From the NWI Times:
"Lake County Commissioners and the sheriff declared a truce in their month-long battle over space for the sheriff's jail, work-release program and Lake County Community Corrections, an alternative sentencing program for state prisoners.

The Lake County Board of Commissioners announced Wednesday they will cancel plans to reduce the sheriff's work-release program space within the former Parramore Hospital, located near the county's government complex.

Instead, they will give the sheriff the entire Parramore building.

Commissioners will move the state-run Community Corrections program out of Parramore and into the upper floors of the Westwind Building, a former county-run nursing home and a nearby county-owned two-story house.

Both the sheriff, commissioners and community corrections officials declared themselves pleased with the compromise, which will cost county taxpayers around $150,000 to renovate the space within Westwind."

This comes shortly after the news that agencies within the Westwind Building will be moving to another location (myself included).

A Real "Turf War"

As I drove into work this morning, I noticed that the county work release inmates hadn't cut some of the grass in front of the Community Corrections program, but I didn't give it much thought. I figured that they had only cut so much yesterday, and would finish the rest today.

That is until I read this morning's NWI Times article entitled Fight for space at county building taken out on the lawn. The article states:

Sheriff Rogelio "Roy" Dominguez's work-release workers have stopped cutting the lawn in front of the Lake County Community Corrections program....

...County commissioners recently reduced the available space for the sheriff's program, giving more room to the community corrections program instead.

One county commissioner deemed as petty retribution the lack of lawn mowing.

"I'm upset with the sheriff over this," said Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Schererville.

The sheriff responded, "We are not obligated to cut the grass. That is the commissioners' responsibility...."

...The sheriff said he didn't give anyone orders to stop cutting grass as a protest of the commissioners' move.

"I think my staff heard commissioners and Kellie Bittorf say they don't value their community service," Dominguez said.

Bittorf said a lower-ranking employee of the sheriff's program said he was ordered to stop cutting grass for community corrections.

Is this a bunch of B.S. or what? How petty is this? Way to go Dominguez! Only in Lake County...

UPDATE: As of 1pm today, the grass was all mowed evenly. I checked when I went to lunch.

US athletes study Chinese culture for the coming Olympics

The American Olympic Committee has prepared tutorials about Chinese culture and customs for U.S. athletes who will participate in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The AOC wants to ensure that the athletes represent America's best while participating in the games. Something that is seen as polite in American culture could be considered rude in China.

I decided to look up some Chinese etiquette at Warrior Tours for your reading pleasure. The page begins by explaining that "China has often been referred to as the Nation of Etiquette. According to many westerners, however, Chinese people often act in what appears to be a discourteous manner. The reason for this anomaly lies in the different cultural and historical views of social decorum. In order to avoid unnecessary mistakes and embarrassment during communications, a better understanding of Chinese etiquette is essential."

Did you know that the Chinese shake hands only very briefly, and only to show respect to important people such as businessmen and government officials? Also, it is customary to give a gift to others you meet in China -- but there are several guidelines to follow in doing so. First of all, you should wrap it in a bright color, like red. Do not use black and white, it has a negative connotation. "It is not proper, and is even considered to be unfortunate, to take a clock as a gift or to choose one having to do with the number four, which sounds like death in Chinese. Even though even numbers are considered as good luck, the number four is an exception. Do not brag about your gift in front of the recipient, and you should use both hands when presenting it. Generally, the recipient may graciously refuse the present when first offered. In this case, you should correctly assess the situation and present it once again. If the recipient did not open your gift, it does not mean that he or she is not interested in it. It is polite to open it after you leave.... In China, a gift is also necessary when visiting a family. But it is not as complex as the above situation. Usually, flowers, common fruits and food are okay."

Just some interesting cultural notes. Remember to check back at NWI Connect often to stay posted about the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics!

For more information about the Olympic team learning Chinese customs, see CCTV International.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hiring Freeze in Lake County? Yeah right!

The talk within the county seems to be that there will be a hiring freeze next year, per Gerry Scheub. The Times even caught wind of it.

I highly doubt that it will happen. It's been promised before, and it never seems to happen. That's what all of the county employees I've spoken with think, and that's what I think. It would be nice with the current tax situation -- we'll just have to wait and see...

Do you think the hiring freeze will actually happen or is this just another empty promise as elections approach?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rough Weekend for NWI -- Tornadoes & Flooding, Oh My!

Northwest Indiana and the entire state in general got hit pretty hard this weekend by tornadoes and flooding. I (Dan) am a member of the National Guard and my unit was asking for volunteers to help clean up Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana. Apparently the damage just south of Indianapolis is pretty bad. My brother lives in Indy and he said that many homes are flooded and several major roads and highways are closed.

The NWI Times reports:

"The National Weather Service said the system could drop from 1 to 3 inches of rain Monday.

Gov. Mitch Daniels' spokeswoman said Daniels already has given 23 of Indiana's 92 counties disaster declarations.

As much as 11 inches of rain swamped the state Saturday, flooding homes, threatening dams and closing several roads and highways. The flooding killed at least one person, a man who drowned in his vehicle in Bartholomew County about 50 miles south of Indianapolis."

UPDATE: I heard from an officer in the National Guard that we are accomplishing two primary missions throughout the state, which has now been declared a federal emergency (so that we receive federal funds for the problem): 1) The National Guard is operating checkpoints to keep people from going onto closed roads due to flooding. 2) The Guard is using filling sandbags and using them to curb and redirect flood waters, and performing general cleanup.

McCain Campaign releases video strategy session

How cool is the internet...?

Modern times now have brought the campaign volunteer into a bigger picture.

Now, they can be part of daily updates, talking points and "marching orders" within minutes of the campaign giving the okay.

Need something out to your "army" fast? Email it.

Or better yet, put it up on YouTube:

This is thorough and interesting look at what the McCain Camp has and what is ahead.

Has any other campaign ever putting this sort of information out on YouTube before?

(Crossposted at Indy's Hardball & Hoosier Access & Hoosiers for McCain & Porter County Politics)

Friday, June 6, 2008

109th Will Be Closed in Crown Point

From the NWI Times:

"Winfield residents will have to change their driving routes and allow extra traveling time for the next several months. The Lake County Highway Department will be repairing a bridge that is just east of Colorado Street, and 109th Avenue will be closed beginning June 9 at Colorado Street for approximately five months. Residents of Winfield and Lakes of the Four Seasons will be following detour signs posted along parts of 109th, taking Colorado to 97th Avenue, then east on 97th to Randolph Street

Ideally, the highway department wanted to run the detour onto 101st Avenue, but that road has been closed and is not accessible. If 101st Avenue reopens during the reconstruction of the bridge, they will repost the detour signs."

Walk on the set of "Public Enemies"

When Johnny Depp came to Crown Point in March to film portions of Public Enemies, Depp was all that people in Northwest Indiana seemed to talk about for the entire week. One of my coworkers waited entire days just to get a glimpse of Johnny Depp and to shake his hand. Well now you can visit one of the places where part of the film was shot, the historic sheriff's home. As you may recall from local history, John Dillinger escaped from the Lake County Jail in 1934, driving away in the sheriff's car.

I toured the historic home several years ago during a local festival for only $2 -- but those days are gone. The NWI Times reports that "the Old Sheriff's House Foundation is raising the price of its 30 minute tour from $2 to $10." Still not a bad price, and I certainly can't blame them for capitalizing on the fame and attention that has been brought to the site by Public Enemies. If you haven't had a chance to tour it yet, I'd recommend you head on over and do so on a Saturday morning.

Also, check out the courthouse and visit the museum in Crown Point, Indiana; which locals call "the Square." Did you know that silent film star Rudolf Valentino, former president Ronald Reagan, and Cassius Clay (who later became a well known boxer using the name Muhammad Ali) all were married at the courthouse in Crown Point? Just some interesting trivia to use at your next summer barbecue party ;)

UPDATE: Children up to age 12 only pay $5 for admission. Tours are given Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Chicago Olympics Could Be Very Profitable For NWI

Recently NWI Connect broke the news that Chicago is one of the possible finalists for the 2016 Olympics.

An event of that magnitude would bring thousands of visitors to Chicago from around the globe, and this could prove extremely profitable for Northwest Indiana. The Times indicates that some athletes may need to train in NWI, and thousands of visitors would need places to sleep, eat, and shop here as well.

An article in the NWI Times entitled NWI, suburbs could strike gold if Chicago lands Olympics talks more about this:

"Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Speros Batistatos said Wednesday he's very excited to learn the city of Chicago was named one of the leading contenders in the cities vying for the Olympics.

Batistatos said he's already provided to Chicago representatives lists of hotels in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties where visitors could stay during the Olympic events in 2016.

"We're ahead of the curve," he said.

For the Gary/Chicago International Airport, it could mean the proposed U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility becomes a reality....

...Earlier this year, the mayors association approved a resolution in support of Chicago's bid, and has urged all suburban governments to consider approving resolutions of their own."

NWI would immensely benefit from this magnitude of tourism in Chicagoland and the Region.

Funny Fudge Contains Lavendar, Not Pot

Last week, major news networks reported that the brownies a girl gave to dorm workers at Indiana University contained marijuana. The fudge was given to workers at IU's Eigenmann Hall on May 23 and police were called after one of the employees took a bite and noticed a green, leafy substance inside.

IU Police took a sample and performed a field test, in which it registered a "weak reaction" on a test for marijuana. They found that it contained lavendar, not marijuana. The 13-year-old girl made the fudge for a school project, in which she had to make a Swedish food.

Cantrell Trial Update

The federal court trial resumed this morning with testimony from Deb Riga, the former Schererville Town Judge. Riga was convicted for public corruption a couple years ago and possibly faces 20 years in prison.

From the Post Tribune:

"Under questioning, Riga said in her first and only term as judge in 2000, her friend, Gary City Court Judge Deidre Monroe, set up a meeting or her with Cantrell's friend, Gil Guiterrez, and eventually with Cantrell to discuss steering town court business to Addiction and Family Care, the Hammond firm owned by Nancy Fromm.

Riga said she met frequently with Fromm and Cantrell and AFC eventually hired her father, Tony Riga, a pharmacist, and paid him in cash.

Riga testified that Cantrell said on occasion that he received payments in cash and was also paid for referral business at AFC.

On cross examination, defense attorney Kevin Milner made much of the fact that Riga is facing more than 20 years in prison for her public corruption conviction and has been free while she has been cooperating with government investigators."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Breaking News - Olympics

Just heard breaking news that Chicago made the cut to the final round of selections for the Olympics in 2016

This would be huge for the entire Chicagoland area and for NW Indiana. Stay tuned here for more news on Olympics this year and 2016

Monday, June 2, 2008

Zoeller Wins the Convention

Greg Zoeller beat Jon Costas in the race for Attorney General this afternoon. It's a huge upset for many of the Costas supporters in NWI, particularly Steve Dalton of Porter County Politics.

LIVE blogging from the Indiana GOP Convention

Steve Dalton is blogging LIVE from the floor of the convention at Porter County Politics. Click this link for the most recent update:!

It's Costas vs. Zoeller today!

(The link sends you to a tag that all updates share, thus no matter when you click this link, you will assuredly see the most recently posted update).

450 Jobs LOST in EC

According to the NWI Times, "Union Tank Car Co. has closed its northwestern Indiana factory, shifting production to plants in Texas and Louisiana and putting nearly 450 people out of work.

The Chicago-based company cited a declining market for railroad tank cars and the cost of operating the older facility in East Chicago.

Friday was the final day of work for the 70 salaried employees and 375 hourly employees."

The recent announcement of 190 new jobs coming to Indiana pales in comparison to this loss.

Increase in Protection Orders in Lake County

From the NWI Times:

CROWN POINT, Ind. - The nation's economic woes helped fuel a nearly 60 percent increase in domestic violence protection orders in Lake County between 2005 and 2007, a newspaper found.

The Times of Munster analyzed court records and found that more than 4,200 protection orders have been filed in the northwestern Indiana county in the past three and a half years.

Experts told the newspaper that the 57.7 percent increase in protection orders intended to halt domestic violence over that time period was fueled in large part by economic woes.

So "economic woes" is the reason listed for the increase in protection orders. What about, "economic woes due to corrupt spending in Lake County?" ;)