Saturday, August 22, 2009

Armed and Dangerous Behind the Badge - When "Protect and Serve" turns deadly.

We live in a dangerous world - gangs, drug cartels, random gun toting lunatics roam the streets. We depend on law enforcement to protect us from harm.

But what do you do when the harm comes from the cops themselves? In cities all across America, police are killing civilians in the "line of duty". Sure, usually the victims are criminals, dead set on hurting citizens and cops. But too often, they are not. They are innocent passers by, or cases of unfortunate mistaken identity, or merely troubled young people who need therapy rather than hot lead. Even when cops follow all the proper (current) procedures, sometimes things go terribly wrong.

Take the case of Libertyville mother, Marilyn Foutes. Her son, 23, had recently come to live with her after having some trouble with local Arizona gangs. He was turning his life around, staying away from drugs, holding down a job and planning for college. But he also struggled with depression, and this past Saturday came home drunk and angry after receiving a DUI and being brought home by neighboring Vernon Hills police. He lost control, and punched the wall. His mother called Libertyville police, fearing that her son may be having a psychotic episode (his father also struggled with mental issues). Police arrived and entered the home, found Spencer Foutes lying on his bed holding a handgun. It is unclear what happened at that point, reports from the officers and the mother differ. But Spencer was shot and killed by police after police claim he pointed his gun at them. (link to full article below)

Now, I don't blame police for needing to protect themselves. Nor do I give a pass to cops who get trigger happy and kill without justification, and the newspaper archives are full of stories of cops shooting innocent people. And I question the wisdom of high speed car chases through city streets that too often take innocent lives. Police must protect themselves, but we must also ensure the safety of citizens (including suspects).

In cases like Spencer's, the shooting was legally justified (although why police took mother Marilyn to headquarters and held her there for several hours without informing her of her son's death is unknown. ) But was his shooting NECESSARY? Would officers have shot and killed this young man if they had a NON lethal option to subdue him?

In the last decade, non-lethal law enforcement technology has become a routine sight, but has yet to be fully embraced by police departments. Tazers are common place, used by patrol officers, and are often the weapon of choice in courtroom or crowded situations. However, rubber bullets, pepper spray bullets, even tranquilizer technologies are being developed, but have yet to be integrated into widespread police procedure. EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse ) devices that can be deployed like spike strips and fry the electrical system of the fleeing vehicle, shutting down the engine, have yet to replace the considerably less effective traditional tire mangling spike strips that often leave a car still riding on it's rims.

Some of these methods have met resistance from citizens (and police). Stories about Tazer related deaths are often cited, and tranquilizer guns have been wholly shunned because of "the potential dangerous reaction to the drug" a few folks may experience. "What if the cops tranquilize someone who is allergic and they die?" is a common argument.

But these arguments seem weaker when we see the loss of a life like Spencer's. While some folks may react badly to Tazers or tranquilizers, EVERYBODY has a bad reaction to bullets. Had the police officers been armed with and deployed some of these methods, Marilyn's 23 year old only son might be sleeping off a hangover awaiting bail instead of taking his eternal rest and awaiting burial.

Understandably, police officers have resisted replacing their firearms with a "zapper". I think too often well meaning bleeding hearts have put non-lethal weapons as a "either/or" situation. I feel that police officers should keep their firearms, but should also be supplied with and trained to use non-lethal options as a matter of first protocol. In many departments across the country, these methods are starting to infiltrate police work, and where they are deployed, officers are glad to have this option. Cops don't like shooting people, contrary to the plot of The Shield. Reality video shows like Most Wanted show clips of suspects being disarmed safely. A man threatening to shoot himself brought down with Tazers and quick cop work, an angry drunk wielding a machete subdued with a Mace grenade, a distraught gang banger bent on "suicide by cop" instead lives to serve his time when his baiting police gets him a belly full of rubber. Situations that could have turned out deadly, but were instead resolved without injury because police effectively used non-lethal methods. We will never end police related deaths, or shootings, cops have to defend themselves against some well armed criminals. But how many more lives can be saved, how many innocent victims will be spared, how many criminals will live to serve their time if every police officer in the country has the non-lethal option?

Unfortunately, Marilyn Foutes and her son weren't so lucky. While Libertyville police may not have done anything wrong, in this case and in countless others across the country, non-lethal police weapons could have prevented a death and helped police to more effectively and safely "Protect and Serve."

Here's the link.,0,434852.story

And here's an image to remind us of the human cost. (This photo breaks my heart)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't pull Grandma's plug (until you get a lawyer) - A case for tort reform

Last week a 92 year old man was awarded $1.9 million dollars from the Phillip Morris company for the death of his 73 year old wife. Shirley Barbanell died in 1996 of lung cancer after smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day since she was 16. Leon, her husband, was originally awarded $5.3 million, but the jury determined that the tobacco giant was only 35% responsible for Shirley's illness, with Shirley herself being 65% responsible (according to a practice in tort law called comparative negligence).

Now I'll give you some articles in a minute, and you can argue the facts amongst yourselves.

But I wanted to add a few facts to the mix.

Tort settlements account for nearly 2% of United States GDP, or approximately 285 billion dollars. However, liability insurance holdings, the insurance folks get to protect themselves from lawsuits may be consuming as much as 8-10% of the global GDP, with the US one of the biggest consumers. We can extrapolate that the US% is similar to global trends. That means as much as 12% GDP is used in preventing lawsuits. With healthcare consuming 16% of our GDP, and with malpractice insurance and lawsuits increasing the costs of healthcare (as the costs of those suits and insurance gets passed on to the consumer, us) we can't really know how much of our GDP is being spent suing people and preventing getting sued. 10% - 15% - more?

Lawyers take, on average of 50% of a tort settlement. If there were 285 billion dollars in settlements in 2008, that means being a tort lawyer is a 145 billion dollar industry. That's more than the majority of our industries make. That's big oil kinda money.

As for Shirley's case, it's worth noting the average American life span is 74 years old. Shirley Barbanell lived a reasonably long life. She chose to smoke and one might argue she got 50 years of product enjoyment from her Marlboros. And now, as sort of a parting gift, for being a loyal customer, her hubby gets $1.9 million (well, closer to $700,000, after the lawyers get their cut, and taxes, etc.)

Speaking of taxes, the states collected over 19 billion dollars in tobacco tax (with the feds taking another 6-8 billion, and more to come with a recent drastic hike), and many state economies depend on tobacco taxes to survive. If tobacco companies are going to sustain this kind of cash drain, somebody better keep smoking. Smoke em if you got em, please!

Enough facts, here's what it all comes down to...

1. Tort law is costing us trillions of dollars (and our souls). While some liability claims are legitimate, it is hard for me to see how Leon Barbarnell, 92 deserves to be a millionaire for his last few years because his wife enjoyed and CHOSE a life of smoking. Tort law teaches us to avoid responsibility. "I'm taking up a few more bad habits so my hubby has more chances to collect. Who needs life insurance, when I can SUE!" This rampant culture of lawsuits not only costs trillions of dollars, but it is turning us into a people who can't (won't) take responsibility for our own actions. We're a nation of greedy tattle tales, and nobody likes a tattler.

2. Tort law is mostly making lawyers rich. Tort lawsuits make lawyers millionaires in only one case, and many class action lawsuits net millions for attorneys while plaintiffs get only a few dollars compensation. Lawyers are looking for cash cows and big tobacco, medical malpractice and personal injury are always ready for milking, the consequences be damned.

3. The hidden cost of tort law is insurance. Everything must be insured to protect it from being sued. The sidewalks in front of your house need insurance. The porta potty you used at the fair. Even your kid's teacher may be required to carry insurance to protect from lawsuit. And especially your doctor, who could be paying up to half of his/her salary in malpractice insurance costs. Everything, everything, EVERYTHING costs MORE the more we sue, and as such, more places must then insure against lawsuits. The cycle of higher prices continues.

4. Tort reform will not be easy. People like Leon Barbarnell want to point the finger of blame and get rich. Lawyers want to help him do that. Lawyers give a lot of money to Washington. HECK, LAWYERS RUN Washington. They don't like giving up money or power in Washington, DC.

5. Tort reform is necessary. To reduce medical costs. To reduce government costs. To stop giving money to greedy folks that want a free lunch, and insure legitimate negligence cases are handled based on the case merits and not merely potential payouts. To save us all trillions of dollars. And maybe give us back our sense of personal responsibility.

I'm finishing off my smoke, now. But don't worry, folks, I'm not the suing type.

Here's the articles.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Nepotism 101 (Adv. Placement) to be offered to elite in Chicago High Schools.

College is a wonderful time in a person's life, a time when we learn more than Freudian Psychology or 17th Century English Lit. We learn valuable life lessons on how the world works, and on what it takes to succeed in today's "rat race".

University of Illinois students are getting an extra special lesson on how the world works...can you say "Nepotism", boys and girls?

Recent investigations into Univ of IL admissions found that school trustees and admission officials at the schools routinely maintained a list of "well-connected" applicants, and often admitted these "Clout List" students instead of more qualified applicants. Additionally, trustees often pressured other members to comply with their politically motivated admissions.
From the Huffington Post
"CHICAGO — A panel investigating the role that clout played in University of Illinois admissions recommended in its final report released on Thursday that all trustees voluntarily submit their resignations and let Gov. Pat Quinn decide which ones to accept.

In a scathing 45-page report, the Illinois Admissions Review Commission found unqualified students were admitted because of political connections, and recommended that any new trustees conduct a review of the university's president, the chancellor of the Champaign campus and other administrators."

That's right, the corruption went all the way to the top. University of Illinois has apparently been teaching students that 'it's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know'.

But in an attempt to bring college level learning to advanced high school students, it appears that same lesson is being taught to Chicago high school students. A Federal grand jury investigation into a school district policy allowing principals to "hand-pick" up to 5% of their admitted students seeks to discover if political connections may be playing a role in the principals' selections.

From the Chicago Sun Times
"A federal grand jury is investigating whether any “public officials’’ lobbied to get kids into the city’s most elite public high schools through new powers that allow principals to handpick five percent of their freshmen seats, a subpoena released Thursday suggests. ...
Its release follows Chicago Sun-Times disclosures that Chicago School Board President Michael Scott also has been called before a federal grand jury.

Chicago Public school officials revealed last month that they asked the Schools Inspector General to investigate the student admissions process at the system’s elite selective enrollment high schools after determining that policies may have been violated. After that announcement, the existence of a federal probe emerged.
Principals of magnet schools that choose most kids using a race-based lottery have long been allowed to handpick five percent of their students — and critics have questioned whether clout or money have influenced such selections. But last school year, for the first time, those “principal pick’’ powers were extended to the principals of the city’s selective enrollment college prep high schools, which use mostly test scores and grades to admit students.",chicago-public-schools-investigation-080609.article

We will have to wait and see what the federal probe reveals, but it'll be no shocker if "Clout List" admissions were going on in Chicago high schools as well. The Chicago School Board President, Michael Scott is a well connected friend of Mayor Richard Daley and is no stranger to the ways of political nepotism.
A recent Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that Scott may be using his ties to Mayor Daley (and his former role on Mayor Daley's Olympics Commitee) to purchase taxpayer land located directly adjacent to the city's proposed Olympic venues and develop it into retail properties. Though the land is allotted for public or affordable housing and is sold at $1 per plot for builders of such projects, Michael Scott may be getting the sweet deal price despite his intention to use the land for retail development (including a Nike store). Additionally, as an early member of the Olympics committee, Scott may have influenced the placement of proposed Olympic venues to take advantage of political connections, convincing local aldermen to set aside lots for Scott to purchase and develop. Scott stands to profit significantly when the low value lots shoot up in value as the Olympics related development dramatically increases property values. A little news on Michael Scott...
From the Chicago Tribune
"He (Scott) was criticized in 1990 for his insider connections when he left his job as city government's chief cable administrator to go work for a cable company.

Earlier this year, Scott's roles as school board president and as a member of the city's Olympic committee stirred controversy.

In May, he asked all of the city's school principals to form plans to promote the Olympics. Teachers and union officials said Scott's tactics were heavy-handed and they feared retaliation if they did not support Daley's quest for the Games.",0,4603832.story

Michael Scott claims no wrong doing, although one wonders how many federal investigations into allegations of political favoritism one can be involved in and still viably claim the appearance of innocence. He is clearly a well oiled cog in the infamous Chicago Machine.

And a fine example to the students of Illinois.

So here's your vocab lesson for the day, kids.

Nepotism - (noun) - the showing of favoritism for relatives or friends based upon that relationship, rather than on an objective evaluation of ability or suitability, for instance by offering employment to a relative, despite the fact that there are others who are better qualified and willing and able to perform the job. syn. cronyism

Or as I call it, Chicago style politics.


Monday, August 3, 2009

No Child Left Unarmed - Education Secretary gives himself an "F" on ending school violence.

It's not every day, folks, where a politician speaks the truth. And when it happens, I like to give credit where credit is due. Especially when the truth is a painful one.

From the Chicago Sun Times
"US. Education Secretary Arne Duncan got a painful reminder last week that not enough has been done to save schoolchildren from violence.

On July 25, Christina Waters, 18, was shot in the head in the 8700 block of South Wood after leaving a picnic.

Waters' best friend, Kris Owens, was wounded in the attack. Waters remains in a coma, fighting for her life.

Duncan was in Florida, heading for Chicago, when people started calling and e-mailing him about the tragedy. Waters had attended Ariel Community Academy, a small school founded by John W. Rogers Jr., head of Ariel Investments. The school is part of the Ariel Education Initiative, which Duncan led before becoming the Chicago Public Schools CEO.

Best friends since childhood, Duncan and Rogers went to see Waters together.

Duncan was in town to discuss the U.S. Department of Education's "Race to the Top" fund. The will award states an unprecedented amount of money to dramatically overhaul schools.
Because the president and so many of his close advisers come from Chicago, there is the expectation that more federal resources will go to target the violence.

After all, the weekend before Duncan came to town, 15 people were shot and wounded overnight. Seven people were shot in one incident on the West Side alone.

Although none of the shootings occurred in schools, dozens of Chicago Public School students have been victims.

Duncan admitted that he has worried "tremendously" about the violence.

"It was one area [where] we didn't do enough and failed our children," he said. "I give myself an 'F' on that one. As a city, as a state, as a country, we need to protect our children and have them be safe."",CST-NWS-mitch02.article


Well, Arne, we agree. You deserve that "F". Chicago has one of the worst rates of violence against students, perhaps because little was done during your tenure as Chicago School Board CEO to change that. Metal detectors installed to prevent weapons from entering the schools sit unmanned or unplugged because the security checks kept students late for class or the school can't afford staff to man them. School security guard numbers have been reduced, and current IL budget proposals plan to gut those jobs even more. School Board Policies hamstring overworked and underpaid teachers while office buildings full of "administrators" surf the web at the expense of the children's education funds. Troubled or poor performing students are encouraged to attend local charter schools, making state test scores for the public school system show improvement based not on teaching, but what some call "student dumping". Chicago Public School System is hardly a model for our national education system.

Which is why I had grave reservations when President Obama chose his Chicago home boy Arne Duncan as Education Secretary. He hasn't had a great measure of success, and I was hoping to avoid a "Duncan, you're doin' a helluva job." moment.

But maybe Arne has seen the light. At least he is able to admit one of his failures, and being able to admit when you're wrong is about as rare in politics as a porkless bill. It takes balls to admit you suck, and we all know that Washington has a shortage of those (I think Nancy Pelosi is hoarding them). Arne Duncan has earned himself the benefit of the doubt with this bit of self reflection, and I hold out hope that he can make a real difference.

But if he comes out with the "No Child Left Unarmed" Program (or No CLU, as I call it), I'm revoking my hope.


Friday, July 24, 2009

One Toke Over the 'Unincorporated County' Line - A Decriminalization Story

The Cook County Board shocked the press, Chicago's Mayor, and even their own Board President, Todd Stroger earlier this week by passing a marijuana decriminalization ordinance seemingly under the radar of a celebrated tax cut.

The measure gives sheriff's and deputies in unincorporated Cook County (not any of the city, or other townships who have their own law enforcement) the OPTION of issuing a $200 ticket for less than 10 grams of pot, with NO criminal record. Championed by Commissioner Earlean Collins (whose grandson was arrested on a first offense marijuana charge), she created the bill to help give 'young people who make mistakes a second chance' and to reduce overcrowded jails with non violent offenders (not to mention making a little coin for the county with those fines and reduced prosecution costs).

Board President Todd Stroger came out originally skeptical, threatening to veto the measure, but had a thorough change of heart by Thursday. "“I’m fine with it. It’s just another tool a law enforcement office can use,” Stroger said.
(from Chicago Sun Times),stroger-pot-possession-legislation-072309.article

Chicago Mayor Daley only 5 years ago supported a similar measure in the city, but seems to have had a change of heart. While a supporter of decriminalization, Daley argued that pot was "already decriminalized" in Illinois, because "99% of the cases were thrown out".
Thursday, he blasted the Board's decision as a step on a slippery slope of drug acceptance, a move that seemed a tad hypocritical. And pointless, since the law does not affect the city.,mayor-daley-chicago-pot-marijuana-072209.article

HOWEVER, I have yet to light one up in celebration. While the new law does give offenders a second chance, it also gives officers a HUGE amount of leeway that can (and most likely will) be prejudiced. Numerous studies in IL and across the nation reveal that Black people are prosecuted 2-3 times more than whites for marijuana crimes. In rural IL, it isn't hard to figure out who's gonna get tickets and who's gonna get arrested , at the cops "discretion". This law is rife with potential for abuse, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth, kinda like smokin' a seed.

I have always supported decriminalization, and this misdemeanor fine policy can indeed generate revenue while saving millions in incarceration costs of non violent pot "offenders". But I am very wary of any system that leaves the option of prosecution to the 'judgment call' of the police. Not that I question their judgment, it's their PRE judgment I worry about.


Friday, July 10, 2009

How low can greed take you? At least 6 feet under...

After a week where the world watched the biggest funeral this millennium, and buried an African American legend, it is natural to think about the past. Not always were blacks given such a send off to the hereafter. In earlier times, even cemeteries were segregated, as is the case of Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, IL. Burr Oak was one of the few cemeteries in the region that would accept black "guests" and as such has several prominent black Americans buried there, most notably civil rights icon Emmit Till, whose 1955 racially motivated murder was a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement.

After a week like this one, it is even more disturbing to read something like this...

" Every family's nightmare: Burr Oak Cemetery graves allegedly stripped for profit
R.I.P SHATTERED | Manager, three gravediggers charged in scheme"

Yep, you read it right. Recent investigations launched into the operation of the renown Burr Oak Cemetery have discovered that as least 100 bodies were removed from their graves and their plots resold. Bodies were discovered dismembered, piled in a field on cemetery property, sometimes casket and all. Other allegations include stuffing two bodies into one gravesite, essentially burying the more recently deceased over old graves. Here's some of the article.

(from the Chicago Sun Times) "The manager of Burr Oak Cemetery and three gravediggers were charged this morning, accused of scheming to dig up gravesites and resell them.

The four were expected to be in court this morning. The sheriff's office says caskets and remains were removed more than 100 graves and piled up in an unused area of the graveyard over several years.

The cemetery is the final resting place of civil rights icon, Emmit Till.
Other well-known people buried in Burr Oak include jazz legend Dinah Washington; bluesmen Willie Dixon and Otis Spann; Harlem Globetrotter Inman Jackson; and several Negro League baseball players.

Officers raided the cemetery, at 4400 W. 127th St, in Alsip, Wednesday morning. Five people were taken into custody.

Dart’s office was notified by the cemetery’s owners of “impropriety” about three weeks ago.

Dart believes the scheme has been going on for about four years.
“It was well thought out,” Dart said.

The employees apparently freelanced selling grave plots and dealt with cash.

“One person had an inordinate control of records, and a lot of those records have since been destroyed.

“We don’t know the full extent of this yet,” he said.,burr-oaks-cemetary-mitchell-070909.article

Another link to the story (more details and pics of the perps)

And they may never know. Records were destroyed, bodies and bones were piled in mass piles. The collection of DNA evidence may take months. All the while each of these families are forced to relive their loved ones passing as they try to find out what happened to their family members. Some families with up to 12 family members buried there were only able to locate a few of their gravesites.

It just never ceases to amaze me, 2 things about people. 1. What lows they will stoop for money, and small amounts of it too. I don't know about you, but if I'm digging up the dead and chopping remains, there better be at LEAST 2 commas in my pay check. And 2. how little people think of the consequences. I mean, you are only gonna be able to pile bodies and caskets in an empty field for so long before somebody notices. You can only TRY to focus on reselling graves that seem unvisited, at some point someone is gonna say, "Hey, I coulda sworn we buried Mom right by this tree." This plan was bound to fail, and though these guys had a good 4 year run at it, where is all your illegally gained money now and how will you spend it in prison? And even more tragic is that this outrage against these mostly African American graves was purported by African Americans. Seems black on black violence doesn't end at the funeral.

One of the most touching stories of distraught family members was a young woman whose brother recently came home from a box. Killed in the line of service to our country, buried at Burr Oak, his grave is now not able to be found. If we are going to ship our poor young men overseas to die, at least we hope they would rest in peace.

Luckily, reports suggest Emmit Till's grave to be undisturbed. But we won't know for months what damage has been done, and then begins the long slow process of reburying the dead.

I hope they bury Michael at Neverland, it may be the only safe place left.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

A perfect case for better health care, reproductive education and not naming your daughter 'Candy'.

Recent stories on CNN news and the Huffington Post are talking about Candy Vigneri, the Maryland woman who was arrested Wednesday on child abuse and endangerment charges after giving birth in a Washington, DC PortaPotty.

Here's the messy details.
From CNN
"A 44-year-old Maryland woman faces charges of child abuse after police say she gave birth in a portable toilet and dropped the newborn into the waste tank.
After exiting the portable toilet in Long Wharf Park in Cambridge, Candy Vigneri got a cigarette from a construction worker and sat at a picnic table, police Lt. Wayne Bromwell said.
As she sat, a male passer-by approached the toilet but Vigneri warned him, "Don't go in there, I just had a baby there," police said.
The man immediately called 911. Vigneri returned to the toilet and retrieved the newborn from the foul liquid at the base of the tank.
The baby was unresponsive and covered with a blue antibacterial chemical agent when emergency responders reached the scene, police said.
Vigneri told officers that she didn't know she was pregnant.
She was arrested Wednesday on charges of child abuse and reckless endangerment and is being held on a $50,000 bond.
The baby is in stable condition at Easton Memorial Hospital. Dorchester County social services will take control of the newborn after she is released from the hospital."

(A few other reported details, Vigneri lives in Maryland with her other children. Not really someone who wouldn't know she was preggers.) Here's a great article on it, with some thoughtful insights.

Yep, that's America. We're fucking nuts, here. And pathetic. Sure, Candy Vigneri is pathetic, that goes without saying. What do you expect when you name your daughter Candy? (Anybody ever heard of Senator or General or CEO Candy? No.)

But even more pathetic is the culture that leads to this kind of life choice.

Expensive, unavailable health care often leads women to not seek prenatal care. The high costs of living impact families that cannot afford the birth control, doctors visits, or even food for the kids they have. The obvious lack of mental health care facilities and services leaves folks to be crazy (like Candy clearly is) and wander the streets having babies in toilets. Poor education, including inadequate reproductive and child development education leaves people to "figure shit out for themselves" and people are clearly stupid. Shame and politics affect women's access to all reproductive options. A culture that is 'gaga' over babies rewards pregnancy with social status and promotes idealized versions of motherhood, but leaves women out in the cold when it comes to health care or child services or family rearing support. And now this child is here in the world and is "enjoying" the care of the local Dept of Family Services, another wonderful element of modern American life (sarcasm included).

We have spent a lot of time arguing between the left and right on the health care plan, on abortion rights and the value of Human Life, on what this administration or the last administration did or did not do. When it comes down to it, what we need more than debates and mud slinging and blame is real solutions that affect real people. You know, people like Baby Vigneri, who are going to inherit what ever mess we create or clean up.

So next time you feel compelled to blame the Right for all the worlds ills, or blame the Left for everything gone wrong, remember this new little baby. Remember that what this baby, and in fact all of us need is actual solutions, and real solutions require compromise and respect. They require us to put our petty attitudes and prejudices aside and do what is necessary to make REAL CHANGE, not merely affective campaign slogans.

For all of us in America, it is time to give birth.

Or get off the pot.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Illinois Legalization - Two Steps Forward and Two Stupid Steps Back.

Illinois is trying hard to become a Pot-gressive state. Recent legislation has put medical marijuana on the map in Illinois, and it looks like we have a real chance for legal medical marijuana in this legislative session.


"SPRINGFIELD---- The push to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois has taken a big step forward.

The Illinois Senate voted 30-28 in favor of it on Wednesday. The bill now goes to the Illinois House, where a committee passed a medical marijuana measure earlier this year.

State senators who backed the measure say it will help relieve the pain of sick people so they won't try to illegally obtain the drug.",w-senate-medical-marijuana-bill-052709.article

Awesome! That's some good news! Let's just hope some Illinois politician doesn't come along and do something stupid to ruin it. Wait, what's that news story there? Oh, what the hell is this?


IL Rep. Kirk Wants Tougher Penalties for Super Pot

Associated Press
1:37 PM CDT, June 15, 2009

CHICAGO - Congressman Mark Kirk and law enforcement officials say tougher drug penalties are needed to combat the high-potency marijuana that's hitting the streets.

Kirk announced a bill Monday that targets drug dealers caught with the powerful pot called "kush." It would impose stiffer penalties than if dealers are caught with regular marijuana.

Kirk says he wants federal drug laws to keep up with what dealers are selling on the streets. He says law enforcement officials in the northern Illinois district he serves brought his attention to the problem.

The new variety of marijuana is stronger because the pot is cultivated hydroponically so growers control light, temperature and humidity to increase the drug content.",0,6156943.story

Oh, holy shamoly, what kinda back woods, hick ass local dufus tries to crack down on "Super Pot"? Who calls it Super Pot? Is this real life or an after school special? Are we living in 1955 worried that little Johnny might go crazy all jacked up on the "Super Pot"?

No it's just Illinois. A state stupid enough to kick itself with it's jack boot. What will we do when medical marijuana is passed? We won't be able to have the high quality dispensaries California has. Sorry you have glaucoma, ma'am, here's some ditch weed.

Hopefully, this Mark Kirk initiative will fail like so many others (even his marriage recently went south). He's not known for big successes. But we gotta give him credit for making Illinois look like the childhood home of Roscoe P Coltrane.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna smoke some Super Pot.



Friday, May 29, 2009

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, what you gonna do? What you gonna do when cops are bad, too?

I am madder then a bunch of bees in an empty honey jar! This week in Oklahoma, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) while driving a patient to the hospital was pulled over and assaulted by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officer. Here's the article and an excerpt...
An Emergency Medical Technician who was involved in a scuffle with an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper is speaking out about the incident.

Maurice White, Jr. is a critical care paramedic with the Creek Nation EMS. He was nearly arrested after the confrontation, which was captured by the cell phone of Kenyada Davis.

White says the officer was in a rage when he approached them and yelled "get your a-- back here! I am giving you a ticket for failure to yield." White says he told the trooper they had a patient in the ambulance and that they were on their way to the hospital.

"He ignored my statement, became even more belligerent, and demanded my partner come to his patrol car so he could write him a ticket," White says. "I calmly told the officer that we were transporting a patient and we could continue this at the hospital."

White says the trooper then approached him and shouted "you are under arrest for obstructing a police officer" and grabbed his arm to handcuff him. A brief struggle followed, at which point the trooper grabbed White by the throat. The cell phone captured this incident on video. (end Excerpt)


Now I went ahead and read the entire statement of the EMT to see what wrong, if any he(they) had committed. The ambulance White was in had yielded to police cruisers as soon as it was aware. White remained calm throughout, only resisting arrest long enough to get his patient to the hospital, where he turned himself over to the troopers (who after a call to base, decided that arresting an EMT for doing nothing after you, the officer, had assaulted him was unwise.)

But here's the most outrageous part. EMT White repeatedly asked the officers where he could report the assault that the original officer had committed against White. Officers arriving on the scene, IN COMPLETE DERELICTION OF THEIR DUTY, told White, "We don't take complaints or charges against other officers." When White asked who he should report the crime to (assaulting an EMT in the line of duty is a felony), the officer told him "It's not our job to tell you where to report the incident". That is, of course, a lie. After much pressing, the officers gave White the name of the office of investigations for police complaints.

So these cops stopped an EMT while IN ROUTE to the hospital with a PATIENT, threaten him, assault him, and then lie to cover up their misdeed. Why? Could it be like the officers said, "the driver flipped me off"? Or could it be that Trooper "Honky" didn't like to see a big black man with a job? Either way, these are NOT the kind of folks who should be carrying a gun, and defending our laws, and running around with impunity, commiting hate crimes at their liesure.

Recently in Chicago, an off duty cop, driving drunk, killed a young teen and left the scene of the accident. He was arrested, but for "some reason" he wasn't given a breathalizer until 4 HOURS had passed. His levels were just under the legal limit at that time, but the family charges that the cops gave their fellow unfair treatment.

Cops are out of control, and power mad. We must immediately rethink how we select officers, and what criteria and tests we perform to ensure that only those who are able to "protect and serve" the public are given the authority of a badge. Because, as it stands now, many cops are as criminal as the perps they chase, and who polices the police? That's right, no one. To steal from Marge Simpson, "America became a fascist police state so gradually, I hardly even noticed. "


Friday, May 15, 2009

Finally....FTC cracks down on the crazy robots who've been callin' me.

For the past several years, folks, I have been receiving calls regarding my expiring auto warranty. Which as always struck me as a little odd. I mean, I drive a 1973 Buick Century, whose warranty expired sometime in my teens. Before that I drove a 1977 Chevy Nova, and before that a 1972 Ford Mustang (I know, I know, I am super cool). Not one of these vehicles has any chance of a remaining warranty. But that has not stopped the auto warranty folks from calling me 2-5 times a day, 2-5 days a week for the past 4 years.

Putting your name on the Do Not Call list does nothing to stop the calls. I call it the Do Not Believe list, as in do not believe them when they say they will not call you. Informing the company about how stupid they are to keep calling me about auto warranties on cars over 3 decades old did nothing. They would always apologize, promise not to call again, and I'd get another call the next day.

In fact "Robo-calls" from this company and companies like them have gotten so bad, I don't even answer my phone with "Hello" (the machines can detect a voice and launch right into their pitch.) No, I have taken to answering my phone with a high pitched whistle. The whistle makes the Robo-caller think I am a fax machine and sometimes just hangs up. It also makes my human callers think I am a weirdo, but I had resigned myself to a few annoyed friends if it helped me to avoid the literally hundreds of calls from machines trying to sell me shit.

But FINALLY, somebody is doing something to STOP THE MADNESS.

From Yahoo News -
FTC sues cos. to halt auto warranty 'robo-calls'

By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon, Ap Business Writer – Thu May 14, 9:50 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators filed suits Thursday against several companies they say are behind a national wave of spam "robo-calls" that warn people their auto warranties are expiring and offer new service plans.

Federal Trade Commission officials said they asked a federal court in Chicago to halt the illegal telemarketing campaign of "Your Car Warranty Has Expired." Officials say as many as 1 billion of the nuisance calls have been made to Americans. The calls target people regardless of whether they have warranties or even own cars. They call numbers randomly and leave messages with a computerized voice telling people, falsely, that their auto warranties are about to expire, regulators say.

The FTC named Voice Touch Inc. and Transcontinental Warranty Inc., which it called the telemarketer and promoter of the scheme, respectively, in the lawsuits. The agency is seeking injunctions forcing them to return allegedly ill-gotten gains. ....... (end quote);_ylt=AimhT.VhMValpeGOnA2_dp1xieAA;_ylu=X3oDMTJvMWtsbW9oBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwNTE1L3VzX2Nhcl93YXJyYW50eV9jYWxscwRjcG9zAzcEcG9zAzcEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNmdGNzdWVzY29zdG8-

Now, while I would like to see these jerks get punished to the fullest extent of the law, for today, I'm just happy to see something finally being done about these abusive phone marketers.

But don't expect me to start answering my phone with a normal, "Hello" any time soon. Sure, the FTC says they are gonna stop these robo-dialing assholes from calling me, but my name is on the Do Not Believe list.


Friday, May 8, 2009

His publicist must be pissed...or why I am so happy Drew Peterson's in jail.

You may have heard about Drew Peterson, IL police officer who is the main suspect in not one but two of his wives deaths/disappearances. What is it about dudes named Peterson? Here's the back story.

(from CBSnews)
"CBS/AP) Former Bolingbrook, Ill. police sergeant Drew Peterson is being held on $20 million bond after he was arrested for allegedly murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, is missing, and police say they consider him a suspect in the disappearance, which they've dubbed a possible homicide. But he hasn't been charged and has repeatedly said he thinks Stacy Peterson ran off with another man.

Savio, 40, was found dead in a dry bathtub in her home in February 2004, her hair soaked in blood from a head wound, just before the couple's divorce settlement was finalized. At first, her death was ruled an accidental drowning.

But when Stacy Peterson, who was 23 at the time, vanished in October 2007, Savio's family became suspicious and had Savio's body exhumed. Authorities later declared her death a homicide made to look like a drowning. " (end quote)

So that's Drew. Great guy. Just ask his publicist. That's right, publicist. Drew Peterson has used his months in the shadow of his dead and missing wives as a vehicle to stardom. Over the past few months, Peterson hired publicist Glenn Selig (also Blago's publicist) to pitch his story to the TV vultures. It nearly paid off, too. Recently, Peterson's publicist was in talks for a deal with a Nevada brothel to cast Peterson in a reality show about the brothel. Here's the info on Drew's big career move.

Brothel Offers Drew Peterson Role on Reality Show

But too bad for Drew. He was finally arrested today on charges of murder against his third wife. And since they only give you one phone call, Drew, maybe you can use that call to get your publicist on the phone and see if he can't get you a guest spot on the TV show "Lock Up".

For once people, justice may be served. But I am happy that Karma is such a bitch, too. Because nothing is more disgusting than getting famous for "killing" your wives. And sometimes Karma shows up as your new cellmate, Bubba. Have fun, Drew, see ya in court.


Friday, May 1, 2009


SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- The Obama administration forgot the first rule in a crisis: Never send Vice President Joe Biden to calm people's fears.

During a television interview Thursday, Biden had a recurrence of his trademark foot-in-mouth disease when he said he had warned members of his own family that -- while some people are steering clear of Mexico -- they should be extra cautious and not get on airplanes altogether or, for that matter, go into any "confined places" where germs could spread.

"If you're out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes, that's one thing," Biden said. "If you're in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom, it's a different thing."


Now we might have suspected Biden to be a bit of a media misfit back during the campaign, with his "Obama will be tested" and "I have three words for you: J..O..B..S..". But nobody expected it would be THIS bad. Please, nobody tell Biden there's a fire in the theater, heck don't even light a match. He'd cause a raging panic.

(cont from CNN)
You don't know whether to laugh or cry. Recognizing that Biden could create a panic and cripple the airline industry, Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander went into damage control mode and put out a statement that read, "The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways."

How sad. That's not what Biden said. His comments weren't limited to Mexico, and he wasn't talking about what people should do "if they are sick." It was about what you should do if someone else is sick. So, the administration's response initially was basically, "Are you going to believe us or your own lying ears?"

The White House later apologized "if anybody was unduly alarmed" by Biden's comments, and press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to explain what Biden "meant to say."


What Biden "meant to say". Yeah, we've heard that before. Whether you like Obama, loathe him, are waiting to see what happens, or just think that he makes a cool t-shirt, whatever your position on Obama is, I think we can all agree on one thing...

Don't let Biden talk...EVER!

(here's the link)


Friday, April 24, 2009

Forced sterilization may not be so bad...

Here's a little article that caught my eye.

Parents accused of taking children on burglary

Thu Apr 23, 2:38 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A mother was accused on Wednesday of driving a getaway minivan with her two young children inside after burglaries at two New York City homes.

Prosecutors said Erika Santana, 23, drove the van with her four-year-old and five-month-old children inside after Hugo Lantigua, 22, who is the baby's father, and Pedro Camillo, 19, broke into two houses in the borough of Queens.

Santana, Lantigua and Camillo face charges including burglary, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child, and face up to 25 years in prison.

"It is unthinkable that a mother and father would put their children in harm's way while allegedly committing these crimes. It is even more unimaginable that they would allegedly do so with a loaded handgun in their vehicle," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Storey)


What the Fuck? And just last week they reported on a man who took his 8 year old daughter into the convenience store as he was robbing it. Again, WTF?

This is what comes of the mentality that everyone has the "right to experience parenthood". Many of us having kids are ill prepared, ill advised and frankly aren't doing so great. Most of us are smart enough to commit crimes without the children present, at least. What is ridiculous is that these folks will get out of jail and be reunited with their children. Heck they could have more kids. Look at the octomom. With no way to limit or discourage people's reproduction, we as a society are left to raise the broken children of thousands of idiots who never should have had kids in the first place.

Couldn't we put birth control in the water or something? Would that be so bad?


Friday, April 3, 2009

God I Hope We Don't Get It...the 2016 Olympics.

So the 2016 Olympic selection committee was in Chicago this weekend. They were wined and dined by Chicago's jet set (Oprah, to name one). They've been shown a grand old time. Soon they will have to make their decision between Chicago, Rio, Tokyo, Madrid.

As a Chicagoan, I can tell you many of us are rooting for any city other than here. With Chicago's propensity for coming in 6 times over budget and behind schedule, this thing will cost us a fortune, and much will end up on the backs of taxpayers. We've got the transit system in disarray and threatening cuts, the policemen's union is picketing the Olympic selection committee meetings in Chicago because they believe the city is not adequately prepared (and aren't contracts due soon?) And we've got tons of poor and homeless that will get shoved out into the suburbs, much like during our recent (and less infamous) Dem Natl Convention. Basically, the Olympics are a big Daley cost bucket waiting to spring a leak, and most Chicagoan's fear the cost to be too great. But Ben Jorvasky from the Chicago Reader says it much better than me.

An Open Letter to the IOC
Why you don’t want to give Chicago the Olympics
By Ben Joravsky April 2, 2009

Now I know Chicago is the only American city in the running, and as Americans we want to "represent". I hope the rest of America will forgive us if we take a pass this year. Trust me, you don't want Chicago to bungle this up. And we will, oh we will...

As for me, I'm rooting for Rio.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Pat Quinn proves Blago was telling the truth - REDUX Indictment Edition

Last week I wrote about Pat Quinn's new tax policy. If you read it last week, you may skim ahead.
written March 27, 2009

So former Lt. Gov. (and sitting gov) Pat Quinn has had the unsavory pleasure of proving the biggest liar in modern IL politics was telling the truth. At least about Pat Quinn raising taxes.

As some of you might recall, during the multi week scandal that followed the election and the filling of Obama's vacant senate seat, Rod Blagojevich, scandal embroiled governor at the time, suggested that Pat Quinn was trying to get rid of Blago, and when he did, Quinn would raise taxes. We all shook our heads and said, "Oh crazy Blago, stop spinning your web of lies"

But in fact, not 6 weeks after taking over the position of IL governor, Pat Quinn is proposing the first income tax increase in 20 years, and it's a doosy! A 50% increase, from 3%-4.5%. Additionally hopes to levy new gas taxes and raise drivers fees.

Now we must remember that this is on the back of a sales tax increase to pay for a corrupt public transit system, taking our sales tax to 10.25%, one of the highest in the nation. And it's one percent higher in downtown Chicago (11.25%!!!) Add to that the city's new parking policy, which included leasing city parking meters to private companies. These companies jacked up meter fees, and have their own staff to write tickets to violators, yes, you can get a ticket from a corporate schill now. And with only two unpaid tickets allowed before booting, folks are getting backed against a wall in the land of Lincoln. Already meters are being vandalized and drivers are refusing to use the meters. But if Quinn sees his tax increases thru (oh yeah don't forget an additional $1-2 pack cig tax increase and we're already paying $8.75 now!) you may just see riots in the streets.

And the worst of it all will be that when Roddy warned us that Pat Quinn was gonna raise taxes extensively...Roddy was telling the truth. Who woulda thunk it? :-(

Here's the article from the Chicago Sun Times,0,7352846.story


And we're back to today. Now if you have a tv, you probably know that as of April 2nd, Rod Blagojevich was finally indicted. Just in time.

I mean just in time to distract from Pat Quinn's tax odyssey.

After posting last week's note, I read a little more about Pat Quinn, and his early history is bordering on true irony.

From the Chicago Tribune...

"Quinn wants to apply the state's sales tax on soft drinks to the coffee and sweetened tea products in grocery stores, adding a quarter for the state treasury for every $5 six-pack of sweet green tea.

While his proposal for a 50 percent increase in the income tax got the headlines, the tea and coffee tax is among a pocketful of nickel-and-dime tax increases the governor is seeking in a comprehensive effort to overcome the state's looming $11.5 billion budget deficit. He also favors higher fees for driver's licenses, license plates, hunting and fishing licenses, cigarettes, tickets to the State Fair and even adding the state's sales tax to some shampoo and personal hygiene products....

But there is a certain irony to Quinn's push to tack the state sales tax on sweetened tea—one that brings his political career from political outsider to insider full circle.

Quinn's birthday is the same as the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Three decades ago, he railed at a legislative pay raise by encouraging voters to send used tea bags to the governor's office. At the time, he told Illinois Issues magazine the stunt, which helped launch his career as a political activist, "was a perfect way to get citizens interested in government again and feel they could make a difference." (end excerpt) (read full article here),0,5628239.story

That's right, folks, you read correctly. Pat Quinn, born on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, previously advised voters to send used tea bags to the Governor's office to protest budget policy. And yes, now that he's governor he proposes the largest tax increase in 20 years. And yes one of those taxes is ACTUALLY on tea. People, you can't write this stuff.

I'm packin' up my old Tea Bags now.

Now let the Blago courtroom antics begin. But I won't let you get distracted. :)


Pat Quinn proves Blago was telling the truth!!!

So former Lt. Gov. (and sitting gov) Pat Quinn has had the unsavory pleasure of proving the biggest liar in modern IL politics was telling the truth. At least about Pat Quinn raising taxes.

As some of you might recall, during the multi week scandal that followed the election and the filling of Obama's vacant senate seat, Rod Blagojevich, scandal embroiled governor at the time, suggested that Pat Quinn was trying to get rid of Blago, and when he did, Quinn would raise taxes. We all shook our heads and said, "Oh crazy Blago, stop spinning your web of lies"

But in fact, not 6 weeks after taking over the position of IL governor, Pat Quinn is proposing the first income tax increase in 20 years, and it's a doosy! A 50% increase, from 3%-4.5%. Additionally hopes to levy new gas taxes and raise drivers fees.

Now we must remember that this is on the back of a sales tax increase to pay for a corrupt public transit system, taking our sales tax to 10.25%, one of the highest in the nation. And it's one percent higher in downtown Chicago (11.25%!!!) Add to that the city's new parking policy, which included leasing city parking meters to private companies. These companies jacked up meter fees, and have their own staff to write tickets to violators, yes, you can get a ticket from a corporate schill now. And with only two unpaid tickets allowed before booting, folks are getting backed against a wall in the land of Lincoln. Already meters are being vandalized and drivers are refusing to use the meters. But if Quinn sees his tax increases thru (oh yeah don't forget an additional $1-2 pack cig tax increase and we're already paying $8.75 now!) you may just see riots in the streets.

And the worst of it all will be that when Roddy warned us that Pat Quinn was gonna raise taxes extensively...Roddy was telling the truth. Who woulda thunk it? :-(

Here's the article from the Chicago Sun Times,0,7352846.story


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Brother will SOLVE our Budget Problems...who needs liberty?

So we all know that every city is hurting for cash. Chicago is looking for new ways to balance the budget. And they may have found a way to cover ALL, that's right ALL of the budget gap with only ONE new program. Sounds great, right?

Well, hold on. Alderman Ed Burke (who is spearheading this proposal) has a great plan, but it does have one small issue. It totally destroys the principal of public privacy. See, the plan is this.

We've all seen those new traffic cameras, you know the ones that take pictures of cars that run red lights (and then mail a ticket to the registered owner, even if that owner is not driving or did not commit the violation) Yeah, those. The traffic cameras are already meeting legal problems in court because they cannot ensure the proper person is punished for the violation.

But Chicago wants to use them even further, in this case to catch uninsured motorists. Studies show 25% of all drivers are not insured, and Alderman Burke thinks he can balance the budget on scofflaws.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

"But, aldermen clearly had dollar signs in their eyes after hearing InsureNet’s pitch to enlist the city’s entire network of surveillance cameras — and install new ones at high-traffic locations — in the hunt for the uninsured.

“You could put these cameras on the Dan Ryan. … You could have the same camera at the entrance to O’Hare Field’s parking lot where you have 10,000 cars parked. In theory, 20-some percent of those wouldn’t be insured and they’d all be in violation of a city ordinance,” Burke said.

“Maybe that’s why the staggering amount of revenue you’ve suggested could be potentially achieved.”

Transportation Committee Chairman Tom Allen (38th) agreed that InsureNet’s numbers were “eye-opening.” But, they’re based on a $500 fine and, “That’s a pretty big hit for people to pay,” Allen said.

He added, “I like the idea. We’d all like people to have insurance. But, there is a certain group that, outside of putting people in prison, may never get insurance. It’s purely money.” (end excerpt)

It's purely money...and that's how your leaders see you, purely money. Never mind the burden this program puts on folks who are already financially strapped (probably the reason they don't have insurance). Instead of actually increasing insured motorists and thus making us all safer (why do they never have programs to help reduce the cost of insurance to lower income drivers? That would actually improve the number of insured motorists.) No, instead of that, Chicago would rather count on using the financial struggle of it's poorer, hard working citizens to balance it's budget. I'm sorry, Julio, you get a $500 ticket and lose the ability to get to your job.

But Chicago city government needs more money to hire all their friends, and other corruption projects the city needs money for. How else will Alderman Burke afford his summer vacation?

Here's the article:,red-light-camera-uninsured-031609.article

And here's Alderman Ed Burke...


Thursday, March 12, 2009

What you talking about, Willis? Renaming the Sears Tower?

The decimation of America's landmarks continue with the scourge of "renaming" architectural icons spreading now to Chicago's most famous building and America's tallest building, the Sears Tower.

Sure, we've been naming and renaming stadiums based on corporate whims, well, since before the Cubs have brought home a trophy to Wrigley Field. Yes, that's Wrigley's gum.

In fact, the tower's original name, the "Sears" Tower is itself a corporate moniker. But I don't mind that. Why? Because it was BUILT by Sears and Roebucks in 1973. (completion date)

Some wiki-facts about the prominence of this iconic building.
"Presently, the Sears Tower is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the Americas, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, and the fourth-tallest in the World. It is one of only five freestanding structures in the world to exceed 500 metres (1,640 ft) in height." Wikipedia

Read between the lines to see that the Sears tower is the United States tallest building. But now, some insurance company nobody knows about is getting the naming rights, FOR FREE, with their new rental agreement. Yes I said RENTAL. Apparently, in today's rough commercial real estate market, if you rent a large enough percent of a building (in this case only 3.5%) you get to rename American landmarks after you. Good thing there is no office space in Mt. Rushmore. Or did they rename that Mt. Kenmore?

Some info from the Chicago Sun Times - "The 110-story Chicago giant,(Sears Tower), the nation's tallest building, will be renamed Willis Tower under a leasing deal. The New York-based owners signed a lease with Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance broker, for 140,000 square feet. Willis said it will consolidate five Chicago-area offices and move 500 employees into the tower. The company said it is paying $14.50 per square foot in rent and that the naming rights come with no additional cost."

Now this ridiculous and shameful act, an act that tramples on all of our American heritage and then offers the trampled remains up for auction to the highest bidder, this stupid idea of renaming one of America's architectural wonders to a name nobody, anywhere, here or around the world, has EVER heard of, is not the first GENIUS plan by the owners of the Sears Tower. Or as I call it, 'the building soon to be known as the building formerly known as the Sears Tower' No, two weeks ago, they floated the idea of painting this striking black American icon a brand spanking shiny coat of silver. Yes, silver. Because it will "increase energy efficiency".

By which they mean that it will reflect more hot sunlight in the summer, making the building easier to cool, allegedly reducing energy costs.

1. Chicago's winters are twice as long as our summer and the silver will reflect the winter sun too, which will increase heating costs.
2. The silver will reflect the hot summer sun down onto other neighboring buildings, increasing the costs to keep these buildings cool.
3. There are serious concerns that the bright glare from the building may have a blinding affect on motorists even miles away.

See, stupid. Here's a link to the Sun Times article, and it lists the idiot owners who are messing with our American treasures. Email them with your concerns. A lot. Like you worked in Spam Stadium.,sears-tower-rename-willis-tower-031209.article

And watch out...I hear rumors that with the government taking overshareholder interest in banks, they are thinking of changing the name of Capital Capital One Hill.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Yes, it's ALL Craigslists fault....What's next, suing street corners?

Yes, it's ALL Craigslists fault....What's next, suing street corners?

From CNN -
Lawsuit accuses craigslist of promoting prostitution

(CNN) -- "An Illinois sheriff filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the owners of craigslist, accusing the popular national classified-ad Web site of knowingly promoting prostitution.
"Craigslist is the single largest source of prostitution in the nation," says Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart."

Ah, another great publicity stunt from Sheriff Tom Dart. You may have recalled his earlier foray on the national stage when he singlehandedly imposed a moratorium on foreclosure evictions in his county. While some hailed Dart as a hero in the foreclosure wars, others called for the sheriff to be held in contempt of court for not performing his sworn duty. Yeah, that guy.

Well his latest battle seems to be with craigslist.

(CNN) - "Dart said. "Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they're being pimped on craigslist."

The FBI found more than 2,800 child prostitution ads posted on craigslist, with Chicago, Illinois, in the top 10 cities for juvenile prostitution, Dart said.

The sheriff also noted instances of what he said was child neglect while parents were engaged in activity solicited on the Web site."


Now folks, let's be realistic for a minute, if we could. Prostitution, including child prostitution, has been going on long before craigslist. It will continue long after craigslist. When the next thing better than craigslist shows up, people will use it to sell sex.

Take newspaper ads. I personally cut my comedy teeth with a bit where I read the funniest ads out of our local newspapers "adult services" section. Those shits were hilarious! "Hott ass on a platter" "Ride my Love Rocket" Comedy gold! But it never occurred to anyone to sue the paper for printing the ads, or to blame newspapers for being the "largest source of call girl prostitution". No one sued the yellow pages for the "escorts" section. (Take a look at your yellow pages in the escorts and see for yourself what they are selling). Because we all knew that the ADVERTISING MEDIUM (ie, newspaper, phone book, what have you) was not liable for the use or non use of any of it's advertisers. Because the phone book company had too much to do to ensure everyone is obeying the law that uses their service. You don't sue the yellow pages for listing a bad auto mechanic. You sue the mechanic.

But Sheriff Dart wants to sue the messenger. Maybe because he can't or won't stop the human trafficking and child prostitution in his district, and he thinks it'll look better on the re-election campaign to find someone to blame. Fighting child prostitution really brings in the votes, and it is much easier to spend time in court with a lawsuit to craigslist, than to actually spend time on the streets shutting the actual criminal down. It doesn't matter that suing craigslist will not stop prostitution any more than suing Ziploc baggies will stop people from selling weed. It doesn't matter that craigslist may actually be a helpful partner in shutting down illegal activity, as mentioned by executives at craigslist:

(from CNN)- "In an e-mailed statement, craigslist told CNN it had not seen Dart's complaint but that "craigslist is an extremely unwise choice for those intent on committing crimes, since criminals inevitably leave an electronic trail to themselves that law enforcement officers will follow."

So Dart once again sounds like he is helping the citizens of IL, but instead is really just refusing to do his job, and is enjoying the glow of the media spotlight. But this IL citizen, for one, thinks that it is time that Dart focused his efforts on stopping the actual criminals instead of scapegoating his own ineptitude onto advertisers like craigslist.

I hear his next lawsuit is going to be suing the corner of Grand and Ashland for promoting crack dealing.

God Bless Illinois, we're gonna need it.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Save the Lioness from the US Government

Hello all! I am once again outraged with our government, our world, and the situation in general, but one particular bee has been buzzing in my bonnet and stinging me in the noggin. Warning, this may piss you off too.

Now we all are aware that we are at war, and we are all pretty clear on
the legal facts that women are not allowed to be serving in combat. Our
military rules continue to refuse women the opportunity to serve in
combat positions, or receive the pay and honors that our combat troups
are afforded. Which is bad enough, from a women's right stand point.

But what if I told you that women ARE serving in combat positions and
risking their lives, but still receive no honors, combat pay, or for
that matter proper combat training? Well, PBS has done the telling for
me, with their recent'y aired documentary, "Lioness".

The Lionesses are women soldiers serving alongside their male
counterparts in Iraq, going from door to door searching, engaging in
gun battles, fighting and living and dying the same lives as male
soldiers, but without the benefits of legal sanction. Our military
leaders and generals know that women are necessary in combat roles and
are using them, even coining the term 'Lioness' to refer to their vital
military role in our modern urban warfare. They are using and deploying
these women strategically into combat, but Congress has yet to approve
this change.

And the worst of it is this: these women enter these combat roles with
inadequate training for combat. (And yet they don't end up like Jessica
Lynch, which is a testament to the skill and ability of these strong
Lioness soldiers). They get on the job training, with a machine gun.

Now this is not only sexist and unfair, it is dangerous military
strategy to send combat troups UNTRAINED FOR COMBAT into a front line
position. Dangerous for the women AND their male cohorts.

All I can say is call your Congressperson and demand a change in our
policy towards women in combat. Oh, and watch this documentary on it.
Here's the Newsweek article about it.

PBS Documentary "Lioness" Follows Women Soldiers

So that's my Outrage of the Week. I'll give you another next week, after I've calmed down. ;-L


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Conflict of Interest Much?

Posted March 1, 2009 - Sunday

This week IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan held a press conference to
release her steps to oust Senator Roland Burris, who as anyone in
America knows, was appointed by impeached governor Rod Blagojevich.
Unless you've been under a rock.

A quote from Lisa Madigan:

"It is my opinion that the legislature may pass a law allowing the
people of Illinois to elect a U.S. senator to fill the seat vacated by
President Barack Obama. Such a law would be consistent with the U.S.
Constitution. The 17th Amendment expresses a clear preference for
having the people of a state elect their U.S. senators. In keeping with
the purpose of this amendment, the legislature may constitutionally
change the current law to set an earlier date for the election to this
U.S. senate seat. I am providing this opinion to offer guidance to the
legislature as they consider this issue."

Thanks Lisa, glad you could clear that up for us. But Lisa Madigan
isn't talking about how she was in fact the Senate democrats top pick
for Obama's senate seat, now held by Burris. She doesn't mention the
repeated calls and letters from Sen Harry Reid and Wh House Chief of
Staff, Rahm Emmanuel which all listed Lisa Madigan as the most
"acceptable" choice for Barack's replacement (a list which strangely
included no African American candidates). It seems a bit conflicted to
so publicly attempt to oust Burris for obtaining his senate seat
through unscrupulous means, when the same job was to be offered to you,
if the unscrupulous pressuring from Washington's Reid and Emmanuel had
achieved their goals.

Nor does she mention her father, Mike Madigan and his long held
political battle with Gov. Blagojevich and Mike's long held political
ties with Chicago Alderman Richard Mel, who in the early years of
Blago's governorship had a great falling out with Blagojevich because
the governor shut down a environmentally hazardous and corruptly
obtained dump site that Alderman Mel had political ties with. Because
to mention this history might suggest another, more political reason
for IL democrats to be calling for a fellow democrat's ouster from the
Senate for uninvestigated allegations.

Elsewhere in Chicago, corrupt former Alderman Ed Vrdolyak, who pled
guilty in November to scheming to pocket a bogus 1.5 million dollar
finder's fee in a Gold Coast real estate deal that defrauded a
non-profit medical school, received only probation for his crimes of
pay to play politics.

Only in Chicago would we call for the ouster of one man for the
APPEARANCE of improper politicking one the same day that we set a
CONVICTED corrupt politician free. Hypocritical. Well Chicago, and
Congress. Because it is just as hypocritical that the Senate sat by
while corrupt CONVICTED Alaskan senator Ted Stevens held his office and
ran for reelection without so much as a peep from fellow Congress
members, while they use every media outlet possible to pressure Senator
Burris from office without a thorough and complete investigation of the
Burris and Blago connection.

With a proper investigation, we will discover if Roland Burris
committed any crimes or ethics violations. We have not even completed
the investigation against Blagojevich, nor has he been indicted nor a
trial date set for his criminal case, although he has already been
convicted in the court of the media.

But to rush ahead and make accusations and calls for ouster without all
the facts when it comes to ousting America's only African American
senator while having a history of leaving corrupt and politically
embattled white senators in office without so much as a peep seems
unfair at best, and politically (or racially) motivated at worst.


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