Thursday, February 27, 2014



SPRINGFIELD - Speaking about the auditor general's report of Gov. Pat Quinn's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative of the Illinois Violence Prevent Authority, State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) noted, “This is the kind of information that indictments are made out of.”
“Obviously, there has to be an investigation,” said Bivins, a former Lee County sheriff. “There’s more than enough probable cause here, when you use tax dollars to have people march in a parade for you.”
The report alleges more than $50 million in taxpayer-funded, possibly campaign-related waste.
State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), the co-chairman of the legislature’s auditing body, said the audit findings are so serious they need to be submitted to the Executive Inspector and potentially the U.S. Attorney for further investigation of potential criminal actions.
“There are so many problems identified by the Auditor General that it is hard to pick out the most serious charges,” Barickman said. “But one has to be that the Governor broke state law by circumventing the legislature’s authority to appropriate funds.”
“This is a damning and very thoroughly researched report,” says State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).  “If this rises to the level of criminal conduct, recognized by the U. S. attorney, I don't know how you don’t say it’s impeachable.”
With the last two Illinois governors having gone to prison, Murphy said the report should refute any notion that Illinoisans should cut incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn any slack as a nice guy with a big heart.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



Bill Evans-Zion church forum 2-29-14
By Joe Kaiser -
The Cook County Board is settling a federal lawsuit brought forth by 21 deputies alleging county Sheriff Tom Dart retaliated against them for political purposes. The deputies, who claim the retaliation is the result of backing Dart’s 2006 Democratic primary opponent Richard Remus, will split $2.4 million in the settlement. 
But even with the case being settled, one of Dart’s current primary opponents knows this isn’t the first time the sheriff has been sued, and he thinks it’s costing the county too much. 
Bill Evans, a lieutenant in the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, is challenging Dart in the Democratic primary, and contends the multiple lawsuits brought against Dart’s administration are hampering the force. Most of the lawsuits, Evans said, name Dart specifically and are “completely avoidable.”
“Lawsuits are going to be part of law enforcements,” Evans said, “but if (the plaintiffs) are winning large in plus half a million lawsuits, that’s very damaging. This issue has been out in the forefront for a number of years.” 
The $2.4 million case alone was years in the making. Originally filed in 2008, the 21 deputies were part of the Special Operations Response Team at the Cook County Jail, which was disbanded shortly after Dart won the general election in November 2006. In that race, Dart had the backing of his predecessor, former Sheriff Michael Sheahan.

In 2012, a jury awarded the deputies nearly $1.6 million, but a judge later reduced it to less than $1.4 million before the case headed to arbitration for the proposed settlement. Dart’s office will not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. 
And, as Evans pointed out, this case isn’t an outlier. Just days after it was reported the lawsuit with the deputies was being settled, Sheriff Deputy Patrick Sheahan, Michael’s nephew, sued the sheriff’s department, alleging he was punished for complaining about work conditions and requesting lighter duty following a back injury.
Dart’s office did not return comment to Illinois Review for any of these instances. 
Another lawsuit occurred in the spring of 2012, when the Illinois Department of Labor sued Cook County, claiming it owed its canine police officers a total of about $530,000 in back pay for the time the officers spent caring for their assigned dogs when not on the job between January 2007-July 2011. Not paying the officers for that time was a breach of a union contract, and an arbitrator settled in favor of the union officers for $543,000. Dart then disbanded the K-9 unit and reduced the number of working dogs on force.
One of Evans’ goals if elected is to reinstate the K9 unit, in addition to improving relationships with unions. The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Teamsters 700 both announced recently that neither would be endorsing Dart.
In an endorsement session last week with the Daily Herald, Evans and fellow primary challengers Sylvester Baker and Tadeus Palka also slammed Dart over the possibility of removing electronic monitoring for people awaiting trial or nonviolent offenders serving short sentences.
Evans told Illinois Review last week that the electronic monitoring system was just mismanaged by Dart, and does not need to be removed. He also added that, in addition to the numerous lawsuits against the Sheriff’s office, the differences in backgrounds between him and Dart should be a factor in the election. 
“Here we are in Cook County in the state of Illinois,” Evans said. “We have budget deficits that are almost catastrophic in state and county, but you have a person like myself with no political connections but understands the job. But you have this guy (Dart) who is a career politician, who has his name recognized because he repeatedly puts himself on TV. People are constantly complaining about government, about the deficit, but what do they do? They turn around and vote for the same guys. And I think if it were put the way I just put it they might think ‘hey this guy has a good point. Let’s get some of the old guard out.’” 
“At times it’s almost mind numbing when I talk to people on the street,” he continued. “They can’t think of a reason they should vote for Tom Dart, but they still think they should.”
Dart has never faced much of a challenge in his sheriff races. He won both the 2006 and 2010 Democratic primaries in landslides, and followed up with the same results in the general elections. He trounced Republican Peter Garza with nearly 65 percent of the vote in 2006, and beat up on Frederick Collins with nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2010. There are no Republican candidates for sheriff in 2014.
Evans, a 23-year police veteran, acknowledged Dart’s powerful base and incumbent advantage, but he believes the election boils down to basic philosophies for the job in which Dart falls short.
“I think (Cook County) law enforcement officers need to be guided, supported, led and trained,” Evans said. “If that isn’t going to happen, we aren’t going to get a quality product out on the street. Somewhere along the way, we lost this philosophy.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

FBI Investigation

NBC News is reporting that the FBI has opened an investigation into allegations that certain CPD may have obstructed justice when they covered up a the Vanecko investigation. Tell me this is not happening.


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Scariest Airplane Landings You've Ever Seen (Volume 2)

Sinead O'Connor "don't cry for me argentina"

Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2U

Report Pentagon Plans To Shrink Army To Pre-World War II Levels - Americ...

Women Arrested...........Jogging

Updated (8:35 p.m. Saturday): Austin police chief Art Acevedo apologized for a comment he made during a press conference regarding the arrest of Amanda Jo Stephen, who was arrested Thursday after crossing the intersection of 24th and San Antonio streets.
In the press conference Friday, Acevedo said the public had overreacted to the incident.
"In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas," Acevedo said.

Acevedo said his comments were the result of a strenuous week for the department.   

"I attempted to place the arrest into context by bringing attention to the fact that law enforcement deals with many acts of serious misconduct," Acevedo said. "In hindsight I believe the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize."
Updated (6:45 p.m. Friday): At a press conference held Friday, APD police chief Art Acevedo addressed the recent arrest of 24-year-old Amanda Jo Stephen, who was taken into custody Thursday after crossing an intersection at a red light. Stephen was formally charged with “failure to identify” and “failure to obey a pedestrian control device” and was released from Travis County Central Booking Thursday evening.
Acevedo said the arrest occured in the midst of a West/North Campus traffic initiative which began Feb. 1. Acevedo said the initiative’s purpose is to reduce the number of traffic violations made by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
According to Acevedo, 28 pedestrians were stopped and seven citations were issued specifically for disregarding pedestrian control devices Thursday.
“Our goal is to change behavior, and not necessarily to write tickets or take people to jail,” Acevedo said. “This week, we’re actually focusing on pedestrian violations. The initiative will continue for some upcoming weeks, utilizing the resources of district representatives.”
According to Acevedo, there have been 96 deaths related to pedestrian-involved incidents and 1,757 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes in in the past five years.
“I’d rather have everybody angry at me and my officers, then to see a young person lose their life needlessly,” Acevedo said. “I’d rather be up here talking about this, than going to our 97th fatality involving a pedestrian or 1800th injury involving a pedestrian.”
When arresting Stephen, officers took the appropriate actions, Acevedo said.
“I don’t buy that you can’t hear an officer yelling at you to stop,” Acevedo said. “I’ll give the benefit of the doubt initially, but when the officer is right by you and can see the hat and he’s looking at your face, you should be able to know what’s going on.”
Acevedo said Stephen disregarded the officer’s lawful request for her to identify herself and verbally resisted the arrest.
“All that young lady had to do when she was asked for her information was to provide it by law, “ Acevedo said. “Instead of doing that, she decided to throw [herself] to the ground – officers didn’t sit her down – and she did the limp routine.”
According to Acevedo, Stephen was handcuffed after telling the officer not to touch her. Acevedo said the public outcry following the arrest did not faze him.
“Thank you lord that it’s a controversy in Austin, Texas that we actually have the audacity to touch somebody by the arm and tell them ‘oh my goodness, Austin Police, we’re trying to get your attention,’” Acevedo said. “Quite frankly, she wasn’t charged with resisting, and she was lucky I wasn’t the arresting officer because I wouldn’t have been quite as generous.”

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

FRANK SINATRA "Strangers in the night" (Live, 85) SUBTITULADA AL ESPAÑOL

Russians are invading. Update

Natural Gas
Enough gas to run Europe for 100 years. 
Did you think it was about freedom? 

We are witnessing a struggle between the people that run the German economy and the people that run the Russian economy, for control of the gas. It is no accident that everything came to a boil during the Olympics. I wonder what will happen when the games are over. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside Live at Slane Castle

Where were the union officials when the contributions were shorted?


SPRINGFIELD - Public sector unions are converging as "We are One" at the State Capitol Wednesday, demanding the Illinois legislature keep the pension promises they made over the decades. The "We are One" coalition is pushing for employers to pay more taxes and for Illinois to shift to a graduated (progressive) income tax rate.
Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.23.00 PM

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maybe they should just turn pro

and let real college students play college sports. 

'It truly is a job,' college quarterback tells labor board

Northwestern's Colter testifies during hearings over attempt to unionize college players

By Alejandra Cancino and Teddy Greenstein, Tribune reporters
10:54 PM CST, February 18, 2014

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter at a hearing Tuesday detailed a grueling football schedule that he contends didn't allow him to pursue his dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Colter, a senior whose college career is over, was the key witness of the College Athletes Players Association, a recently formed union that filed an election petition in January with the National Labor Relations Board. The union is seeking to unionize Northwestern football players who receive scholarships.
Before an election can take place, the NLRB must decide whether Northwestern football players are employees of the university. Colter is the only player expected to testify before an NLRB hearing officer in Chicago. The union is expected to call its second and final witness, an economist, on Wednesday.
The hearing is scheduled to continue through Friday, with Northwestern witnesses taking the stand after the economist. The school declined to name its witnesses.
Colter said he tried to meet class requirements needed to apply to medical school but he was unable to do so because he couldn't miss football practice or related activities such as workouts and meetings.
As a result, he said, he switched to psychology, a less challenging major that allowed him to continue to succeed academically and meet his football obligations.
"It truly is a job," Colter said. "There is no way around it."
Colter spoke of 50- to 60-hour workweeks for players, saying they have to prepare for opposing defenses because "the guys on the other side of the ball want to rip your head off. The plays are changing every week. It's like war.
"I like to think of it like the military/Navy SEALs. They spend months and weeks preparing for operations," Colter said. "It's the same thing as football. We spend months getting ready for our operations."
In exchange for his labor, Colter said he receives about $75,000 in compensation, including tuition and a monthly stipend for room and board. The figure, he said, was in a form Northwestern sent to his parents.
During cross examination, Anna Wermuth, an attorney representing Northwestern, asked Colter if he received a check from the university to pay for his tuition.
"The university pays itself," Colter said.
Wermuth asked if he paid taxes on the stipend or the tuition money.
"I have no idea," said Colter, who kept calm during the more than five hours of detailed questions from attorneys on both sides. Colter listened attentively to questions and kept his answers short.
Wermuth pressed further and asked if he signed the tax returns. Colter told her that his mother files his taxes. He trusts her, he said, so he doesn't check the filings.
When asked if he thought there was nothing educational about playing football, Colter said he learned human values, but football didn't help him learn chemistry.
"It made it a lot harder," he said.
At the end of her cross examination, Wermuth asked Colter if he understood that Northwestern "standing alone" has no control over what the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires. Furthermore, she said, as an employee of Northwestern he would have no right to bargain with the NCAA.
"There are a lot of things we can negotiate through Northwestern," Colter said, adding that the union could bargain with Northwestern over medical coverage and financial aid that is longer than four years.
As an employer, the burden falls on Northwestern to prove its stance that student-athletes are first, foremost and always students as opposed to employees.
"Frankly, Northwestern has a great deal of difficulty understanding why it was chosen as a test case," said Alex Barbour, another attorney representing Northwestern, in his opening statements Tuesday.
"The reality is that Northwestern is not a football factory. It is first and foremost a premier academic institution. Student-athletes receive a world-class education, free tutoring services, core academic advice and personal and career development opportunity," he said.
Barbour said scholarships come with "no strings attached" and "have no bearing" on the actual performance of players because a standout gets the same deal as a player who never sets foot on the field.
"How that would be considered compensation simply defies logic," Barbour said.
Barbour said academics trump athletics at Northwestern, and that has led the football program to have a 97 percent graduation rate, highest among all Football Bowl Subdivision schools.
Barbour also said collective bargaining would create "competitive balance issues" among public and private (unionized) programs, issues with nonrevenue sports and Title IX, and would require a "complete overhaul" of governing structure at the NCAA and Big Ten levels.
Scholarship athletes "are, at best, temporary employees, based on their transitive nature … they cannot in any sense form the nucleus of a collective bargaining agreement."
A school official said Northwestern attorneys will not attempt to defend the NCAA and how other football programs conduct business.
The union's attorney, John Adam, argued that players are "subject to the fundamental rule — no work, no compensation. And they earn their compensation with their blood, sweat and tears."
"Northwestern football players must be disciplined, must be fit, must be diligent, resilient and smart," Adam said. "They must be dedicated, they must put in long hours year-round. We will show that being a football player at Northwestern is hard work. It is work. It is a labor of love, but it is labor."
Adam said Northwestern is a good employer and players appreciate what the school does for them, but at the same time, they want a voice in their working conditions, their health and safety, their insurance and medical treatments for injuries that stay with them long after football.
The team must be the football players' top priority, he added. They are students, as well, but if they do not meet their football obligations, they may not be students for long. Thus, he said, they are workers entitled to protections under federal labor law.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Moon River...Henry Mancini...

Jay and The Americans - Cara Mia

The timing of this. Right before the election?

Sheriff Dart retaliation lawsuit to cost $2.4 million.

By Hal Dardick
Clout Street
7:15 AM CST, February 14, 2014

The Cook County Board next week is expected to approve spending $2.4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that Sheriff Tom Dart retaliated against deputies who backed his political opponent when he first sought the job eight years ago.

Dart has objected to the settlement, believing he could ultimately win the case, but it was mediated under the auspices of the federal courts, endorsed by the state’s attorney’s office and recommended by the Cook County Litigation Subcommittee, making a rejection by county commissioners highly unlikely.

Lurking behind the machinations of the lawsuit is a complex tale of Chicago politics, alleged jail abuse and public images.
The original case was filed by 21 sheriff’s deputies who alleged that Dart and his subordinates were responsible for the disbanding of their elite Special Operations Response Team at the County Jail. The unit was disbanded weeks after Dart won the November 2006 general election, but before he took office shortly after. During that time, Dart was chief of staff in the sheriff’s office.

The deputies alleged the unit was disbanded to punish them for backing Richard Remus, their former commander, in the three-candidate March 2006 primary election. The deputies contended that the alleged retaliation was a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and said it resulted in lower wages, lost overtime pay and unrealized future promotions.

In late 2012, a jury awarded nearly $1.6 million to the deputies. A judge later reduced that to less than $1.4 million. Dart continued to deny the team’s disbandment was an act of retaliation and vowed to appeal.

But the case was not appealed, said Commissioner Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, chairman of the Litigation Subcommittee. Instead, it went to arbitration, resulting in the proposed settlement.
There will be no admission of any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Silvestri said. Instead, making the payment is a way to avoid potentially higher costs, both for any future settlement and legal fees, if the appellate court were to side with the deputies, he said.

“It was our intention to appeal the jury’s verdict,” said Cara Smith, Dart’s chief of policy and communications. “We objected to the settlement, and it was agreed to over our strong objections.”
Dart has maintained that the special guard unit was disbanded and replaced with the Emergency Response Team as part of an overall effort to clean up jail operations. Of the 21 deputies who brought the suit, six were accepted on the new team, six didn’t apply and the rest didn’t qualify, according to the sheriff’s office.
The events that form the backdrop to the lawsuit stretch back 15 years.

Although Dart has fashioned himself as a reformer and won accolades in many quarters for working to clean up the jail and root out illegal patronage hiring, he came up through the powerful 19th Ward Democratic organization that for decades has controlled the sheriff’s office and the thousands of jobs it controls.

An attorney and former state legislator, Dart was chief of staff to former Sheriff Michael Sheahan of the 19th Ward. When Sheahan did not seek reelection in 2006, Dart ran to replace his boss — with the backing of Democratic power brokers, including Sheahan and then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Remus, who also hailed from the 19th Ward, had split from Sheahan after Remus resigned from the sheriff’s office in 2003 following a series of Tribune stories that detailed how guards assigned to his team invaded a maximum-security cell block at the jail in 1999, beat inmates and then filed false reports to cover up the misconduct.

A month before the 2006 primary, a jail guard with alleged ties to Remus was accused by Sheahan of plotting to help six inmates escape to muddy up Sheahan and Dart before the election. The guard was later convicted and sent to prison, and six other guards with alleged ties to Remus were later suspended.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

GLORIA JONES- "TAINTED LOVE" (1964) (+playlist)

Global Warming? Is he nuts or what?

GOV. QUINN IN LOS ANGELES TO DISCUSS GLOBAL WARMING PREPAREDNESS. Illinois is suffering through it's worst winter in 30 years and this guy is off in LA talking about a vague bs concept. He has to go.  

Photo from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information/Facebook
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Illinois Gov. Quinn is in Los Angeles attending the second meeting of President Obama's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
The task force was established by the president to advise his administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities that are dealing with extreme weather caused by global warming.
Quinn joins senior Obama administration officials as well as state, local and tribal leaders from across the country.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Morgan Park Sports Center

I just saw the artist's rendering. Impressive. They start construction this summer. Way to go Ald. O'Shea. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Notre Dame

A lawyer representing the University of Notre Dame got into a heated exchange with a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday over the federal health care law’s contraception mandate, which the Roman Catholic university claims violates its religious belief.
Judge Richard Posner threatened a lawyer arguing against the mandate, saying he would not be able to continue his arguments if he continued to interrupt or fail to directly answer the judge’s questions.
“Stop fencing with me,” Posner told attorney Matthew Kairis, a lawyer with the firm representing Notre Dame in a lawsuit that challenges a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, Notre Dame objects to a mandate that religious employers contract with third-party providers to offer contraception as part of their health care coverage.
The courtroom drama came during oral arguments in a case that largely has been presented in written briefs. Last year, Notre Dame sued the Department of Health and Human Services, challenging the contraception mandate, despite an accommodation allowing it to meet the requirement by contracting with a third-party provider.
Notre Dame argues that such an accommodation still violates its Catholic principles and that the government should extend the same blanket exemption to the university that applies to houses of worship.
“Notre Dame is trying to make a moral judgment of where on the spectrum of complicity it falls,” Kairis said.
Posner and Notre Dame’s attorney testily talked over each other at times during Wednesday’s oral arguments, with the federal judge at one point asking Kairis whether birth control was “a mortal or venial sin.”
In December, a judge ruled against Notre Dame’s lawsuit, and the university appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
At Wednesday’s oral arguments, an attorney for the government told judges that when Notre Dame complied with the accommodation this year, its third-party provider, Meritain Health, emphasized to recipients that Notre Dame was not the provider of contraception coverage.
“Nothing could make clearer how utterly divorced Notre Dame is from the provision of services than this statement from Meritain to the employees, which makes absolutely clear that the university is not providing it,” government attorney Mark Stern said. “You need to get a separate ID in order to get these services.”
In January, three female students intervened in the lawsuit, claiming they are entitled to participate because they will be directly affected by its outcome. The rules apply to student insurance coverage starting in August. The women filed anonymously to avoid retaliation, their attorney, Ayesha Khan, said.
Khan questioned the sincerity of the university’s objections, pointing to the fact that the university didn’t object to the federal government’s third-party accommodation before a conservative network of alumni called the Sycamore Trust protested.
The time line suggests that their about-face resulted because of an October letter from the Sycamore Trust,” she said. “What I don’t know is whether the Sycamore Trust is a funder of the university. I don’t know precisely what its interest is. But I do know that Notre Dame did an about-face and that may cast doubt about their sincerity.”
Before Khan returned to her seat, Judge David Hamilton pointed out the difficulty of judging sincerity.
“There is a long tradition in our First Amendment jurisprudence of providing protection to people who are prodigal sons, who are not saints, who are not entirely consistent in their views,” he said.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Man Dart


You may not agree with everything he does or says but guess what? He is the best that we have right now. 

He is our guy.


            In the past 68 years, since 1946, Cook County has had nine sheriffs, all of them ostensibly devoid of moral turpitude, reasonably competent, generally resistant to temptation to indulge in graft and favoritism, able to sublimate the duress and stress of sitting on a timebomb – and almost all eminently forgettable.

            That’s Sheriff Tom Dart’s problem. He’s forgotten. The 51-year old lawyer from Chicago’s clout-heavy 19th Ward craves a promotion – to Chicago mayor, U.S. Attorney, county board president, state’s attorney, or even a high-level job in the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice.

            “I love my job,” he said. “I work 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I get calls at 3:00 AM. I’m making a difference.”

            Get me out of here, he really means. Dart sits atop a timebomb. The sheriff’s responsibilities include courthouse and courtroom security, operation of the County Jail and House of Corrections, and patrol of the county’s unincorporated areas. A possible courtroom shooting, a jail break, a drug dealing or gun-toting deputy, a Juvenile Court incident – all have political repercussions.

            During his 8-year term, Dart said, there have been no jail breaks, only several “walk-aways,” due to tangled paperwork. The Jail houses 12,500 inmates daily, of which half are accused felons awaiting trial, and the remainder convicted felons serving their sentence. Over 3,000 are housed in four segregated buildings, and Cermak Hospital, while being given meds, and therapeutic and psychological treatment for “mental health” problems. Another 3,000 convicts or detainees are on electronic monitoring.

            Welcome to “New Age” law enforcement. In the days of yore, the criminal justice system was intended to be punitive. Jail was a place of misery and suffering,  to deter ex-cons from crime and re-incarceration. That philosophy “is not working,” said Dart. Now the focus is curative: Criminals are not predators, they’re victims. Instead of spending their squalid life shuttling in and out of prison, they get a lifetime of Medicaid-paid meds and therapy, a Link card, Section 8 housing subsidies, and public aid. It used to be: Don’t commit a crime if you can’t do the (jail) time. The new jingle is: If you don’t commit another crime, the taxpayers will make sure you live real fine.  

            I asked Dart: Is the sheriff’s office is now a social service agency? A veritable half-way house? “If I can prevent one in 20 (ex-cons) from coming back (to jail), I’m satisfied,” said Dart, a Democrat first elected in 2006. “We need a thoughtful strategy to fight crime.”

            According to Dart, his two-term “accomplishments” include: Shakman compliance; a crackdown on sex trafficking; inmate “mental health” programs and screening; banning evictions on apartment tenants in foreclosures; monitoring gang activity; requiring rape kits; and employing social workers to intervene in inmate, evictee and child matters.

Here’s a tricky multiple-choice question: Who will be the next county sheriff?

            (a) Tom Dart; (b) Ted Palka; (c) Sylvester Baker; (d) Bill Evans; (e) Ed Burke Jr.; or (f) Chuck Norris.

            If you answered (a), then you didn’t read the question. Dart is the sheriff, and he will easily beat Palka, Baker and Evans in the March 18 Democratic primary. If you answered (f), then you’ve been watching too many “Walker, Texas Ranger” reruns. If you picked (e), then you have phenomenal insight into the way Chicago and Cook County politics operates. DNA and geography control. The South Side 19th Ward, which has controlled the sheriff’s office since 1990, will be superseded by the South Side 14th Ward.

            Count on this: Ed Burke Jr. will be sheriff sometime soon. The son of 48-year Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, the council’s Finance committee chairman, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, young Burke is one of the sheriff’s 210 “exempt” hires, out of 6,640 employees. Non-exempts are hired through civil service exams, not political clout. Burke is presently an assistant chief deputy sheriff, in charge of child support enforcement, earning $85,667. His dad has $8.2 million in his campaign account – more than enough to spend (or is it buy?) sonny’s way into the sheriff’s job.

            As for 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea, who covets Dart’s job, one word: Foggataboutit.

            According to Palka, a deputy sheriff and inspector in the sheriff’s office for 30 years, the “culture of corruption and favoritism has not changed” under Dart. What has also not changed is the office’s reputation as a political career capstone, not a steppingstone.

            Under the 1871 Illinois Constitution, a sheriff was limited to one four-year term. The 1969 Constitutional Convention removed that term limit, the rationale being that graft was less endemic.

            In the past 17 sheriff’s elections, the luckiest guy was Richard J. Daley: He lost the 1946 election to Republican Elmer Walsh by 978,011-1,044,294 (48.4 percent). Had Daley won, he would have been termed-out in 1950, might not have been slated for county clerk in 1950, and would not have been on the mayoral track. Surprisingly, a Republican won five times (1946, 1950, 1962, 1966 and 1986). Not surprisingly, the job is usually a dead end. Only a few have advanced.

            Joseph Lohman (D), elected sheriff in 1954, won the state treasurer’s post in 1958, but lost the 1960 governor primary. Dick Ogilvie (R), a former assistant U.S. Attorney, elected sheriff in 1962 in an upset (951,647-921,605), won the county board presidency in 1966 and was elected Illinois’ governor in 1968. Ogilvie had designs on the presidency in 1976, but lost re-election in 1972. Ex-FBI agent Joe Woods (R), whose sister was President Richard Nixon’s secretary, won the job in another upset (961,848-945,728) in 1966, crafted a “law-and-order” image, but got trounced by George Dunne (D) for county board president in 1970; he then spent the next 18 years as an obscure and irrelevant county commissioner.

            1970 produced a sea change. The legendary Shakman decision precluded hiring or firing on a political basis. Prior thereto, the 3,000-plus court bailiffs, process servers, and Jail officers were just a bunch of grunts: They worked precincts, donated to their party and committeeman, and were on the street if their party lost. Shakman “professionalized.” Once on the job, no coercion or compulsion could be exerted. .

            Dick Elrod, now a Circuit Court judge, was an obscure Chicago corporation counsel when assigned to monitor a 1969 “Days of Rage” anti-war protest. He tried to tackle a protester, missed, collided with a post, and was partially paralyzed. In a stroke of genius, Daley ran the “heroic” Elrod for sheriff in 1970, against Bernie Carey (R), another ex-FBI agent. Elrod won by a narrow 887,026-876,549 (50.3 percent). Carey became state’s attorney in 1972.

            Able to seek re-election, Elrod won with ever-increasing majorities: In 1974 he got 53.7 percent; in 1978 he got 56.3 percent; in 1982 he got 69.5 percent. 

            But then, after 16 years, “Elrod fatigue,” including a string of mini-timebombs, proved insurmountable. Ex-Chicago police superintendent Jim O’Grady switched parties to run as a Vrdolyak Republican, whipped Elrod 706,659-673,233 (51.2 percent), and proceeded to a swift demise. Harold Washington died in 1987, eliminating the “race factor,” and Undersheriff Jim Dvorak got enmeshed in controversy.

            In 1990, Alderman Mike Sheahan (19th) ran for sheriff, aided by the clout of Assessor Tom Hynes, the 19th Ward Democratic Committeeman. In a humiliating meltdown, O’Grady got just 369,631 votes (28.5 percent), to Sheahan’s 719,489 (55.4 percent), and black independent Tommy Brewer’s 191,101 (14.7 percent). Thereafter, Republicans imploded. Sheahan won with 65.2 percent in 1994, 71.1 percent against the son of a black former Chicago police superintendent in 1998, and 76.9 percent in 2002. In 2006, Sheahan pulled a “switcheroo” – announcing for re-election, getting slated, but then withdrawing on the last day of filing, with the 19th Ward and Hynes’ allies submitting petitions for Dart, a 10-year state representative and 2002 loser for state treasurer.

            Dart won the 2006 election with 74.9 percent, and was re-elected in 2010 with 77.2 percent. No Republican is on the 2014 ballot. ADD HERE         

            The primary is dispositive. Palka is appealing to ethnic voters, particularly Poles. “I am campaigning at all the Catholic churches,” he said, “People want change. I will hire more deputies and police. I will stop the endless stream of civil rights and harassment lawsuits.” Baker, a black 22-year retired sheriff’s police sergeant, lost to Dart twice. Evans is a 23-year sheriff’s police lieutenant.

            In 2006, Dart got 331,318 votes (61.9 percent), beating Baker (133,944 votes) and Rich Remus (69,899 votes), in a 535,161 turnout. Baker carried four black wards, and Dart got over 80 percent in his Southwest Side base. In 2010, Dart trounced Baker with 76.3 percent, getting 397,844 votes to Baker’s 123,096, in a 520,940 turnout. Baker won one ward, while Dart got over 80 percent in the Northwest Side 33rd, 36th, 39th and 47th wards, and over 90 percent in the 11th Ward.

            Turnout in 2014 will barely exceed 500,000. Palka projects Baker near 150,000 votes, and Evans at 50,000. That leaves 300,000 for Dart and Palka to split.

            No polls have been taken, but the “money race” is an accurate gauge. Dart had $310,211 on-hand as of Jan. 1, and raised $127,430 after April 1, 2013. Palka’s numbers, respectively, were $44,279 and $52,390; Baker’s were $22,639 and $27,113; and Evans’ were $2,595 and $31,366.

            Dart may be forgettable and/or forgotten, but he still has enough juice to get renominated. He’ll win with 55 percent.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

City Services

The least cost effective municipal services in the country. 

Sexual Harassment

This creep is running for governor. Did he think the truth wouldn't come out? 


Dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsA former employee for Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford alleged in federal court Monday that Rutherford sexually harassed him and used his state office to further his political aspirations.
The employee, Ed Michalowski (photo far right), charged that Rutherford has made unwanted sexual advances against him since 2011. In one instance, Michalowski claims that in 2011 Rutherford held an overnight office retreat at Rutherford’s Pontiac home, entered Michalowski’s bedroom and grabbed his genitals.
Michalowski, 43, served as Rutherford’s Director of Community Affairs and Marketing. He resigned last week, telling the Sun-Times he felt intimidated by a news conference Rutherford held promising to combat the allegations while flanked by former federal agents.
The lawsuit goes on to detail other instances of alleged harassment, including during the 2012 Republican National convention in Tampa, Fla., and at a Springfield bar.
A copy of the lawsuit can be downloaded HERE
There is also a story going around that Rutherford had a 19 year old campaign aid locked in a car, for an hour last week, while he sat in a restaurant. Problem is that the temperature was below zero and the car was not running. If true, this guy Rutherford is brutal. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Now even the weatherman is getting armed.

Is there a reason the weathermen have to carry guns? Or is this just another example of a government agency steering off course from it's true purpose?

Back in July 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also purchased 72,000 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson, following a 2012 purchase for 46,000 rounds of .40 S&W jacketed hollow point by the National Weather Service.
NOAA spokesperson Scott Smullen responded to concerns over the weather service purchase by stating that it was meant for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement for its bi-annual “target qualifications and training.”
That seems excessive considering that JHP ammunition is typically several times more expensive than practice rounds, which can usually be found in equivalent power loadings and thus offer similar recoil characteristics as duty rounds.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

More Obamacare


6a00d834515c5469e2019affa46bdc970b-75wiJOLIET - Chris Balkema called for Obamacare to be repealed, saying the health care program is “is destructive to full-time jobs” and “will create a welfare-like culture,” based on the most recent non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report about President Obama’s 2300 page legislation.
The Caterpillar executive cited the CBO report showing Obamacare will cause a decline by about 2.0 million in the number of full-time-equivalent workers in 2017, and 2.5 million fewer full-time workers in 2024, mostly among lower-wage earners.
“That’s like taking 30% of the entire workforce out of the state of Illinois,” explained Balkema. “The CBO’s report makes it clear that Obamacare is destructive to full-time employment in the US. We will continue to feel the damaging consequences of Obamacare all the way to 2017 and beyond."
"Thanks to a bevy of new taxes and other disincentives to work, Obamacare will cause workers not to seek employment. Most of the decline will occur among lower-wage workers,” said Balkema.
The decline in full-time-equivalent employment stemming from Obamacare will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours.
Balkema said the 11th District’s current Congressman, Democrat Bill Foster, voted for and has continued to defend ObamaCare. And while a former Foster staff member, Sue Klinkhamer, used to defend Obamacare with her boss, she no longer does. One reason: skyrocketing deductibles and premiums.
“The longer this 2300 page monstrosity stays in effect, the more constituents will get hurt. Not only have we witnessed over 4-million people all across the country losing their health insurance that they liked, they have also seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket," Balkema said.
"It’s a $2-trillion experiment that’s playing with people’s lives. We need torepeal Obamacare and replace it with proven free market principles like selling insurance across state lines. We need to get government out of the way, and let proven, free market principles work for the people,”  explained Balkema. “Obamacare only continues to take us on a downward spiral.”

Saturday, February 8, 2014


The American invasion of Syria is about to be ON. Sure, they are a threat to US security at home, don't you know. 
You will soon start seeing more and more news stories like below, as they start of the process of selling the need for another war. 
Americans would like nothing more than to put Syria and its ongoing civil war in the rear-view mirror. Unfortunately for them, ignoring the conflict could have serious long-term implications for the region and, possibly, US security at home.
Policymakers in Washington have begun to realise this, rekindling a debate about the nation's Syria strategy.
After the aborted military strike in September, the focus had turned to diplomacy, including the UN chemical weapons deal and the peace negotiations between President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces. But Syria is stalling on its promise to abide by the chemical deal, and the Geneva II peace talks for now have failed to achieve anything.
When conditions in a conflict change, the natural next step is to reassess your approach, and conversations with American officials and Syrian opposition activists indicate this time has come in Washington.
When the popular uprising in Syria started to turn violent in late 2011, few officials in Washington seemed worried about the long-term consequences. Warnings about the Assad government's ability to feed extremism to scare the West about the alternative to its own rule barely registered on anyone's radar.
As the conflict dragged on, and regional experts warned about Mr Assad's willingness to use scorched-earth policies to keep the upper hand militarily, the response was that a civil war is not America's problem to solve.
Now Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is telling Congress that the most radical elements in the Syrian rebellion could pose a threat to the US. He also warns the chemical weapons deal with the UN strengthened Mr Assad.
On Tuesday Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement condemning the Syrian government's continued indiscriminate use of barrel bombs dropped from helicopters in civilian areas and said: "The regime is single-mindedly focused on inflicting further destruction to strengthen its hand on the battlefield and undermining hopes for the success of the Geneva II process."
Mr Kerry was also reported to have vented his frustration during a private meeting with senators over the weekend, telling them the administration's Syria policy has failed. While Kerry's aides denied he made those comments, it's clear from what he and others officials have been saying in public that the momentum is building within the administration to reconsider all its options.
On Thursday the Washington Post laid out some of the choices available to the president - more robust than the current policy but less than a full US war. Arming the rebels is already happening by proxy, but it could be accelerated with more US support. This would not hand the rebels an outright victory but could help strengthen their hand at the negotiating table.
The problem for Mr Obama and his key advisers is that they don't see a military option that doesn't carry the risk of leading to large-scale military action. Even arming the "moderate" rebels is fraught with risks and means getting more involved, which is why the administration has not jumped on this before. The Saudis and other American allies in the region did, and would ideally want the US to fight the whole war for them.
Mr Obama has been trying to find a balance between the US role as a world leader and an American public that mostly wants to forget about the world after a decade of foreign conflicts. He has defined US interests and its response to problems in much more narrow, security-based terms. His factual references to Syria in his State of the Union address did not match the horrors of a conflict that is killing a whole country.
Public opinion in the US has yet to be moved by the war in Syria. Americans are focused on their economic recovery and healthcare reform, and are generally in a more isolationist mood.
Whatever policy course he chooses, Mr Obama needs to start preparing the American public for the possibility that the US will have to take further action in Syria. He can do this by explaining that indifference to problems in faraway countries today does not guarantee they won't become America's problems in the future. And deploying drones to strike al-Qaeda militants will not be the answer to dealing with radical militants in the Mediterranean. BBC News