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Second City Cop

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Connections Connections

Rahm has appointed a new comptroller:
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday appointed a Chicago hedge fund executive as the city's new comptroller to replace a former aide who faces federal corruption charges in Ohio.

    Emanuel selected Daniel Widawsky, a managing director at Citadel LLC, to succeed Amer Ahmad in the cabinet-level position that oversees the city's collection and disbursement of funds and the Department of Finance. If approved by the City Council, Widawsky would start at City Hall on Jan. 31.
And why would Rahm choose this guy?
  • Widawsky, 48, has donated $9,000 to Emanuel's campaign fund: $4,000 in February 2011 during the mayoral campaign and another $5,000 in September. For both contributions, he identified himself as a tax attorney.

    Widawsky also has been an active contributor to federal campaigns, giving $7,500 to Republican Mitt Romney's presidential effort and $4,800 to Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Since 2003, Widawsky has given $28,200 to federal campaigns: $10,850 to Democrats, $15,050 to Republicans and $2,300 to political action committees.
So this guy leaves a private company for a civil service job? How noble. Unless you suspect Rahm is going to try to phase out pensions and move retirement monies into something like a retirement account? After all, Citadel LLC CEO Ken Griffin, Widawsky's now-former-boss, now has one of his guys working directly for Rahm:
  • Widawsky could not be reached for comment Friday. His current boss, Citadel founder Kenneth Griffin, has been one of Emanuel's largest campaign contributors. Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, have contributed more than $200,000 to Emanuel's fund.
This other article digs even deeper:
  • Citadel LLC founder and CEO Ken Griffin criticized the Madigan proposal, which includes:
  • raising state workers’ retirement age on a sliding scale
  • setting up a state funding guarantee
  • introducing a 401(k) option
  • reducing the employee contribution.
  • limiting annual cost of living increases to reflect annuity payments, based on length of employment
  • providing authorization for unions to sue the state if the full amount required for pensions is not paid each year
  • Griffin writes the deal will ultimately force the state of Illinois to break its promises to government workers. He says there's no way Illinois will be able to provide the pension security it says it will...

And everyone is connected to Rauner, Republican candidate for governor. Curiouser and curiouser.


Unions to Withhold $$$

The unions affected by the just-passed pension bill have decided that they aren't going to donate to politicians who made them pie-in-the-sky promises years ago:
  • One year ago, the head of the AFL-CIO predicted Gov. Pat Quinn could not win re-election “without making peace with the unions.”

    Today, Quinn is hurtling into the crosshairs of public labor that is livid over new pension legislation signed into law last week.

    “This week did not close the gap. It widened it,” AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan told the Sun-Times following Quinn’s closed-door bill signing this week. “Mr. Quinn can’t win in 2014 until he makes peace with public-sector unions.”

    Carrigan’s tone reflects an incensed labor force that is preparing to wage a legal battle against that bill, SB1.

    But it’s also exploring its political options.
They're looking into withholding political contributions. And we imagine "volunteers" for the campaigns. they are even making noise about a "consensus" candidate from the other side of the aisle, which would be amusing.

Politicians understand one thing, maybe two, very clearly - losing elections and not having money to run in elections. Every one of these elected officials ought to be un-elected. If that means voting for their opponent, then that's what should be done.

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Saturday, December 07, 2013

No Pension Fix for Judges

  • Legislation intended to curb the rising cost of public pensions in Illinois would reduce the benefits for recipients, except for the judges.

    Judges receive the highest average annual pension of any public employee, yet their benefits would remain untouched, according to legislation introduced by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

    The nearly 1,000 retired judges earn an average annual pension of more than $112,000. The average public employee retiree draws an average annual pension of about $40,000.
We're pretty sure the legislature hasn't touched their pensions either.


Illinois Broke...

But there's plenty of money to pay to move Archer Daniels Midland corporate headquarters from Decatur to Chicago:
  • Illinois is one step away from paying one of its biggest companies to pack up and move from a struggling small city to Chicago.

    While most people were keeping an eye on the state’s landmark pension reform vote earlier this week, the Illinois Senate approved what could be a $30-million tax break package to help Archer Daniels Midland move its world headquarters from Decatur to Chicago.
Maybe it isn't the pensioners breaking the bank?


Friday, December 06, 2013

Quick Guilty Plea

  • A former Chicago Police lieutenant pleaded guilty to tax fraud Thursday under a deal with prosecutors that likely spells bad news for his two high-profile alleged co-conspirators.

    Erroll Davis, 52 — who quit his 27-year police career when he was indicted just two weeks ago — choked up in federal court as he admitted he’d failed to pay taxes on a $30,000 payoff he accepted to help a pal get her hands on an illegal property loan.

    Though he didn’t name her, court papers make it clear the pal was disgraced former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans.

    Evans — who’s awaiting sentencing in a separate state grant fraud case — hasn’t been charged in connection with the mortgage fraud she allegedly asked Davis to carry out.

    But Davis’s plea deal turns up the heat on her because it requires Davis to cooperate with U.S. Attorneys if he wants to dodge a likely prison sentence of around 12 to 18 months.
Davis was an asshole most of his career, so the karma here is thick. A few months in prison might send a message to a lot more people. And forfeiture of his pension would really put the fear into a bunch more. As an added bonus, it would help our pension not having to pay for people who ended up being criminals.


Rahm Finds MORE Money

  • The city unveiled plans Thursday for the largest modernization of the CTA Blue Line since the O’Hare branch was built 30 years ago, a four-year overhaul that officials say will shave 10 minutes off travel between downtown and the nation’s second-busiest airport.

    But things are going to get slower before they get faster.

    The $492 million track and station rehabilitation project beginning in the middle of next year will mean rolling delays for the more than 80,000 weekday commuters who board at stations on the branch as well as visitors who ride the train into the city after landing at O’Hare, transit officials said.
$492 million. And that's on top of the following:
  •  ... the recently completed $425 million reconstruction of the 10-mile stretch of the Red Line Dan Ryan branch
  • Construction will begin in the spring on a $240 million project to rehab and expand the 95th Street terminal 
  • $92 million in TIF dollars on a basketball arena for DePaul and a hotel for Marriott
That's over a billion (billion with a B) that Rahm is spending on anything except the pension obligations, $500 million of which is due next year by State law. Anyone else seeing a problem where the narrative being pushed by Rahm and his tame media outlets doesn't match the facts on the ground?


Beat Up the Geezers

  • The state's lawmakers had passed a pension bill for all of about ten minutes—socking it to little old retirees from Cairo to Waukegan—when Mayor Emanuel issued a statement to the press.

    "The pension crisis is not truly solved until relief is brought to Chicago and all of the other local governments across our state that are standing on the brink of a fiscal cliff because of our pension liabilities," the mayor said in his statement released yesterday.

    Translation: Let's beat up some geezers!

    The geezers in question are Chicago's retired public school teachers and most likely its retired firefighters and cops, whose pensions are in debt largely because our last mayor—a man named Daley—didn't fund them adequately.

    Instead, Mayor Daley took the money that was supposed to go to the pensions and spent it on other things. For which everyone in our larger civic community, Rahm Emanuel included, hailed him as a fiduciary wizard who deserved to be reelected.

    Now these same people are saying, Sorry, seniors, but you're going to have to pay the price.

    Because messing with geezers is what passes for reform in our great city.
The entire article is a take-down of Rahm's supposed accomplishments that are actually Rahm directing millions to his friends instead of Daley's friends.

He closes with a call to action:
  • Just in case, my advice to the police and the firefighters is to counterpunch.

    For instance, I'd like to see a big demonstration of cops and firefighters at the corner of Michigan and Cermak>, where the mayor's gearing up to waste at least $92 million in TIF dollars on a basketball arena for DePaul and a hotel for Marriott.

    C'mon, fellers: if the teachers can fight back, so can you.
We would - if we had leaders ourselves. But we don't seem to at the moment.


Bratton Back to NYPD

  • New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named William J. Bratton to return as the city’s police commissioner Thursday, selecting the former LAPD police chief to head a department praised for overseeing a drop in crime but criticized for its use of racially charged stop-and-frisk tactics.

    Bratton had been expected to get the job, which has been held since 2002 by Raymond Kelly. De Blasio, who will take office in January at the end of Michael Bloomberg’s third and final term, was a harsh critic of Kelly and vowed to replace him if elected.

    In a statement issued prior to a news conference announcing the appointment Thursday, De Blasio called Bratton a "proven crime-fighter."

    "He knows what it takes to keep the city safe,” the mayor-elect said.

    For his part, Bratton said in a statement that "De Blasio’s priorities are my priorities.”
Interesting, as De Blasio is a raving Marxist and supporter of the Sandanistas back in the 80's.

So what does this bode for McCompStat? Bratton had words of high praise for him during Rahm's superintendent search, conveniently glossing over McCompStat's use of racial slurs during drunken rages, his disrespect of other law enforcement agencies when his family was stopped for traffic violations, and the strange silence over streetlights shattered by bullets. Bratton might need a second-in-command who can be a loudmouthed distraction and McLookAtMe fits the bill nicely. He was also known to be in New York in the last few months. Someone commented his contract was up this spring, but we don't recall hearing about a specific "contract" in so many words.

Interesting times.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Endorsement Batting Average = Piss Poor

We decided to do a little investigation last night. We dug up a copy of the FOP 2012 Endorsements for the Illinois Senate and House and compared it to the way that those people voted for the recent Pension Bill. We saved the file in case anyone over at FOP decides to take down the web page. The results we educational to say the least:

(click on the image for a larger view)

We drew a line between the Senate and House endorsements and hi-lighted the people voting "yes." We lined out those who either lost the election or have since left Springfield for the greener pastures of aldrecreature or lobbyist.
  • The Senate members endorsed by FOP were 7 out of 7 voting for the bill
  • The House members endorsed by FOP were 14 out of 18 voting for the bill
Now we realize that the pension bill in Springfield doesn't affect Chicago's woes. It is going to be used by Rahm as a road map to gut (aka "reform") our pensions at some point, and some of these politicians might have voted as they did knowing that they don't have to face downstate voters - the Machine will keep them relatively safe.

But as we had a presence at the vote this past week, and the FOP is supporting the We Are One organization, and the FOP made it known that this bill wasn't in the best interests of future issues that will directly impact CPD along with other workers, it's disappointing that our organization would endorse people so out of touch with what we determine to be in our best interests.

21-out-of-25, a full 84%, voted in favor of a bill that we made no bones about being against. That either points to:
  1. a complete disconnect of those running with our endorsement;
  2. a catastrophic failure of our Political Action Committee to endorse qualified candidates to vote for the interests of the FOP.
Either scenario needs to be addressed somehow.

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Preckwinkle Won't Back Felons

That isn't to say she doesn't support currently un-convicted felons on the Board....or that she won't work with the felons running should they win election....she just won't endorse them initially:
  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Wednesday she won't be backing either of the two ex-felons running for commissioner seats in the March Democratic primary.

    Former city Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez, who did federal prison time for a City Hall job-rigging conviction, is running in a South Side and south suburban district. Preckwinkle said she'll be backing appointed Commissioner Stanley Moore in that contest.

    Former 29th Ward Ald. Isaac "Ike" Carothers, who did federal time for taking bribes to influence zoning decisions, is running in a West Side and west suburban district. Preckwinkle said she hasn't picked a candidate for the open-seat contest, but indicated she won't support Carothers.
But hey, if they win, no reason she can't work with them, right? Bygones are bygones, especially in Cook County.

Anyone want to propose a law saying that felons can't run for office again? Or better yet, disbanding the Cook County Board entirely, it being an entirely redundant layer of government.


Bond Rating Doesn't Move

Oh, it gets initial positive reviews and the politicians are waving paper around claiming "liquidity in our time" or some such nonsense. But the money guys and gals? They aren't budging the bond rating just yet:
  • Wall Street offered an early thumbs-up Wednesday to the state Legislature’s passage of a $160 billion pension-reform package, but it’s too early to tell what impact that deal might have on Illinois’ borrowing costs.

    Fitch Ratings issued a statement that called the legislative action “positive,” and the lead Illinois analyst for Moody’s Investor Services described Tuesday’s historic pension votes in Springfield as “significant.”

    But none of the major bond-rating agencies signaled a willingness to ease up on the ranking they’ve assigned Illinois as the least creditworthy state in the nation.

    The statements by the two rating agencies came amid signs of a rally in the market for municipal bonds from Illinois. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that those bonds traded at a one-month high.
Part of this could be the inevitable court fight looming, so the bankers will sit on the sidelines and wait for a judge to sort it out. Another part could be that the bill addresses something like $20 billion out of an estimated $180 billion in debt - a drop in the bucket.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Disgusting Revelation

Even if this had nothing to do with CFD Captain Herbie Johnson's death, it's an appalling bit of information:
  • Chicago firefighters heard Capt. Herbie Johnson yell, “Get out of here!” before they found him unconscious on a second-story floor during a deadly apartment building fire on Nov. 2, 2012.

    A firefighter/paramedic from Chicago Fire Engine 123 was nearby and found Johnson on the floor.

    He didn’t have a radio and he couldn’t find Johnson’s radio to send a signal to notify others that Johnson was down, so he screamed the distress call to anyone within earshot: “Mayday!”
A dozen years out from 9/11 and there are firefighters operating in a major metropolitan area without radios? That's frightening, ridiculous and unacceptable.

The investigative agency also had this to say about the death of Captain Johnson:
  • The NIOSH report, published in September, stated that improper risk assessment, a lack of protective equipment, miscommunication and low staffing levels were among contributing factors leading to Johnson’s death.
Rahm, who only just heard about "low staffing levels" yesterday, blamed....guess who?
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded Tuesday to the critical federal report by demanding answers from the Chicago Fire Department.
Oh, you mean those guys who have been fighting City Hall for years, dating back to the previous administration, about manning fire apparatus and so-called "variances?" They're to blame? We never would have guessed.

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FOP in Springfield

From a source who would know and got hold of us as soon as he observed it, FOP Lobbyist Donahue was in Springfield for the run-up to the pension vote. That's good to know we had a presence there at the very least.

Also, Rahm was in near constant contact with Springfield yesterday morning. Our contact relates that Rahm desperately wanted to tie Chicago pensions into the Springfield legislation, but was shut down by Cullerton's people who didn't want to trick-bag the Chicago cabal that was voting today to screw everyone except Chicago at this point in time.

A lot of bad blood tonight and today over these votes. Democrats who have had no problem accepting union money for the past decades pretty much screwed their most loyal voters. They told stories, stretched the truth, out-and-out lied about the pyramid scheme they were building on borrowed money. Republicans who told the truth about unsustainable money fantasies were derided, demonized and dismissed along with anyone who attempted to preach fiscal responsibility.

Just a thought, but tomorrow might be a good time to start another voter drive via the FOP and CFD union.


No Harm!

In a stunning development, Rahm discovered that Chicago taxpayers weren't swindled by one of his hand-picked flunkies:
  • There is no indication that former city Comptroller Amer Ahmad, who faces public corruption charges in Ohio, engaged in any wrongdoing at City Hall, according to a legal review released Tuesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration.

    The review by a law firm and an accounting firm concluded there were no parallels in Chicago to the allegations in Ohio that Ahmad ran a $500,000 kickback scheme with his friends while he was deputy state treasurer. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges including bribery, money laundering and making false statements.
But there was this little gem:
  • The review did find that Ahmad failed to recuse himself from some  pension fund votes involving a financial firm that had city business while he was actively seeking a job with the firm, but it concluded  there was no harm to the city.
Oh, that little thing? That's just business as usual in Chicago. Ed Burke does it all the time and then goes back and changes his vote in the official city record at a later date.

One really has to wonder that the feds haven't filled their prisons with an entire wing of crooked Chicago pols. They could build, finance and run an entire prison at a profit if they'd bother to prosecute and collect fines from Chicago, Cook County and Illinois politicians.


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Voting Day for Pensions

  • Gov. Pat Quinn Monday championed a landmark pension-reform deal and vouched for its constitutionality as he and legislative leaders frantically prepared for what the governor called “the most important fiscal vote” lawmakers will ever make.

    The House and Senate were poised for Tuesday votes on a package designed to rescue Illinois from its $100 billion pension crisis, but it seemed clear hours ahead of that expected action that the votes would be extraordinarily close despite an aide to Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, saying the “end is in sight.”

    The adrenaline-packed day, which even included at least one political dirty trick aimed at Quinn and sympathetic Republicans, was likened by some to “World War III” because of the fierce combat going on out of public view.
This bill does not affect Chicago Police or Fire Pensions. However, Rahm has stated in no uncertain terms that it will be used as a framework, model or road-map to "reform" Chicago's equally disastrous situation.

And to that end, we certainly hope that the rumor in our comment section about the FOP President, Board of Directors and lobbyist not being in Springfield today is only that - another in a series of false rumors begun by opposition candidates in the upcoming election.


Station Transients (UPDATE)

A unique solution to solving the seasonal problem of station lobbies becoming encampments for the homeless and all the disease and vermin that comes with them:


And for individuals:


Someone has a lot of talent - and time on their hands.

UPDATE: The embedded videos are in .mov format. We don't know what that means for iDevices, but mobile phones are having problems viewing the file. Internet Explorer and Firefox play the movies without issues.

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On Being a Cop

Jim Padar, retired CPD, started a blog a few years back with a number of amusing and poignant stories from "back in the day." The style was one we recognized as hearing over the dinner table or at family gatherings from a number of folks who were on the job. It was story-telling as we remembered.

Jim now has a book out and you can read about it and order it at this site here:
 A portion of the proceeds are going to the Chaplains Ministry and the Memorial Foundation.


Intentionally Ironic? Or Boastful?

The article states the following:
  • Records obtained by FOX 32 and the Better Government Association show that in June of 2011, the owner of that property, wealthy businessman Narendra Patel, gave it away for free to Benton Cook III. Cook is Dorothy Brown's husband. "It's our personal business. It has nothing to do with politics," Cook says. "It has nothing to do with the public."

    According to records, one month after getting the free property, Cook added Dorothy Brown's name to the deed.

    Two months after that, Brown and her husband transferred the deed to Sankofa, LLC. -- a for-profit company they run out of their South Side home.

    Finally, in November 2012, Sankofa sold the property to a private developer for an even $100,000.

An amusing comment about the situation:
  • Hmmm, the linked article says that Dorothy's husband gets the property for free from a rich Indian businessman/campaign contributor. One month later, Dorothy's husband puts Dorothy's name on the property title. Two months later, Dorothy and husband transfer the property to their very own for-profit company "Sankofa", which is an African proverb that means, "reach back and get it."
And the link defining "sankofa:"
  • Sankofa can mean either the word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates in English to "reach back and get it"
How very ... "Chicago-ese" of a word choice. Not only does she use her office to further enrich herself, giving lie to the very definition of "public servant," she rubs everyone's face in it with the name of the company. Hubris, eh?


Monday, December 02, 2013

Dorothy Brown Scores $100,000

  • How would you like to have a piece of property handed to you for free and then turn around and sell it for $100,000? Sound too good to be true? Not if you're one of Cook County's most powerful Democratic politicians.

    FOX 32 and the Better Government Association have uncovered a complex series of property transactions involving Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown that's raising some tough questions for the veteran politician.

    What makes all of this even more curious is that the property was handed over for free by one of Clerk Brown's top campaign contributors, who has family working in the clerk's office.
That makes it "curious?"

No shit Inigo - these media folks are a bit dense sometimes. Now how about digging around and seeing how many other times this sort of crap happens? We pointed out one a few days ago that occurred back in 2009. You think it hasn't gone on since and continuously for years now?

UPDATE: So obvious, we forgot about it. Thanks to a reader for pointing it out.
  • Obama, Rezko, Hyde Park property and a sliver of land adjoining the Obama residence that Rezko practically gave away to the Illinois politician, soon-to-be US Senator and future creator of ObamaCare.
Connect the dots - we'll bet an enterprising reporter (or US Attorney) could find a few dozen instances of politicians benefiting from crooked, shady land deals.


239 Tows

The Winter Parking Ban Extravaganza started and finished last night, teaching expensive lessons to almost 240 unfortunate souls:
  • Drivers flocked to city tow yards Sunday, shaking their heads — and fists — in exasperation after the first day of Chicago’s overnight winter parking ban once again managed to ensnare hundreds of vehicles.
    In all, 239 vehicles had been hauled away on the first day. The annual ban, meant to make it easier to plow and salt snow-covered roads, is in place from Dec. 1 to April 1 between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
The usual litany of complaints can be read at the link. The biggest complaint, as usual, is "no snow." But Rahm thanks you all for the money regardless.


Anyone Know What This is About?

It appears to be an interview of a Tribune reporter discussing the merits of the Anthony Porter case and how the media collectively ignored that overwhelming evidence contained in the file that proved beyond a doubt, that Porter was guilty and that the Northwestern professor and his "students" were perpetrating a fraud on the citizens of Illinois. That led to the overturning of the Illinois death penalty by making it seem like death row was full of innocent people - it wasn't, but the media and politicians threw their lot in with the bleeding heart crowd.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

James Quinn v Casper Lauer

Once again, the first Line of Duty death is attracting outside attention. Politics, aldermanic egos and who-knows-what clash over two men dead over a century-and -a-half.
  • On Dec. 5, 1853 — 160 years ago this Thursday — 9th Ward Constable James Quinn died of injuries from two beatings. His assailant, William Rees, was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to five years in prison — and confessed to his crime in a letter to the Chicago Democrat newspaper. For a century and a half, though, the saga of Quinn vanished. The Chicago Police Department mistakenly settled on another officer, Casper Lauer, as first to be killed in the line of duty.

    Even today, weirdly, the short shrift for Quinn endures. Walk into the modern but haunting lobby of Chicago's Public Safety Headquarters at 3510 S. Michigan Ave. and take a hard right. You'll face what's supposed to be the chronological beginning of the Superintendent's Honored Star Case. It continues around the lobby and displays the police badges of 490 officers who died serving Chicagoans.

    Where Quinn's star should be you'll see an oddly blank space, with Lauer's star then leading the long procession. And Constable Quinn? His star is at the far end of the lobby, roughly a century out of order and near a vacant expanse chillingly reserved for ... Chicago officers who will be killed in the line of duty.

    If the location of a dead cop's badge strikes you as immaterial, consider not only the symbolism but the portent of massed shields in long rows: Every officer starts each shift not knowing whether his or her star soon will be retired there.
Ed Burke has his fingers in this kerfuffle, a DEA Agent with deep family ties to the CPD discovered papers that back Quinn's status as the first Line of Duty death, and of course, the Tribune editorial is unsigned, so it's still a mess that distracts from quite a few other pressing issues of the day.

It is amazing that even the dead and past history are such an interwoven part of present day politics.


Pension Pushback

  • Details of the pension deal reached by four House and Senate leaders and headed for a vote this week have supporters and critics in full-court press mode.

    Union leaders, who are blasting the agreement, say their members will bombard lawmakers Monday, urging them to kill the proposed bill that could ultimately slash $160 billion from the state’s future pension liabilities and improve Illinois’ damaged creditworthiness.

    “We think that this is a grotesque taking of retirement security from public employees, from teachers, firefighters and nurses,” said Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “It’s not fair, and we also think it’s not legal.”

    Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31, said Friday that the union will sue if the proposal becomes law.

    We Are One Illinois, a coalition of unions working on behalf of 1 million members, said on its website that the proposal “makes it impossible for retirees to keep up with the cost of living.”
Four people have decided this "deal" and four people are going to be pushing their respective caucuses to excuse decades of financial mismanagement and put the blame for this mess where it doesn't truly belong. That isn't to say the unions are blameless - they supported these same people with money, votes and volunteers, and are now acting surprised that an unsustainable economic model is going to collapse in short order leaving their members in a very tough spot.

The Tribune has an article up describing almost exactly what we see as the future of Illinois, and it isn't pretty:
  • In the last three months, state legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn have done a fantastic job making headlines about trying to solve Illinois' estimated $100 billion unfunded pension liability, while accomplishing absolutely nothing. They held a special session and did nothing. The governor docked their pay, and they did nothing. They drafted two pension-overhaul bills, but neither got through the entire legislature — and so, did nothing.

    Now our political leaders say they have made a breakthrough. In closed door meetings, hidden from public view, they have drafted legislation that's intended to show they can get something done. But in this case, getting nothing done would be preferable to the passage of legislation that all but ensures the economic demise of our great state.
Read it all and start making plans. The future is ugly.


Bears Underdogs Again

By a single point.

The over/under is listed at 50, pretty much the highest total of all the Sunday games.

After last week, we've kind of lost confidence in the play calling. If you're betting on the Vikings, give the point.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hopefully, True

  • In the early hours of Thanksgiving morning, three Bronx thugs who were out for a game of “Knock Out” with what they thought was an unsuspecting victim, a white male in his late fifties to early sixties, got more than they bargained for.

    The three men, all in their early twenties, were trailing the man down Morris Park Avenue, heading toward Williams Bridge Road when their prey veered into an alley way. They followed him into the alley and around a sharp, dark bend, only to find the barrel of a .45 magnum waiting on them. Two of them men were shot in the foot and the third was pistol whipped. Authorities nearby responded to 911 calls reporting the gunfire and called for ambulances. The men were taken to nearby Calvary Hospital where they were treated and released.

    The men were not charged, but authorities are asking anyone who has any information on the individual who shot two of the men and pistol whipped the third to come forward. He is described as a white male, approximately late fifties to early sixties. He is approximately 5’10″ and 165 pounds.

    Police fear a vigilante may be on the loose, intentionally inviting wayward youth into playing the new “knock out” game for the intent purposes of maiming, or perhaps even killing them.
And the problem with this is.....what exactly?

If idiots want to play a "game" that has resulted in the deaths of seven or more people (depending on who's reports you believe), then they take their chances with running into someone playing an entirely different game. The mainstream media, taking their lead from the New York Times and other left leaning outlets, have declared this isn't a "big deal" and have unilaterally embargoed any mention of the "game" and the aspects of the "game."

So if it isn't a big deal when they ambush victims completely unaware, then we really don't see how it's a big deal when they jump someone who is aware, is armed, and is willing to defend themselves.

Now hopefully, this story turns out to be true. If not, it will be somewhere soon.


Speaking of Frauds...

Someone brought this to our attention following the spate of mortgage fraud scandals currently coming to the fore. We wrote about it over three years ago:
  • Jeffrey Duerwachter made $413,000 in one day last year by buying and selling the Chicago Defender building.

    But he did even better investing, making a $413,000 profit by buying and immediately reselling a historic South Loop building that once housed the Chicago Defender, the city's biggest African-American newspaper. And he did it all in one day -- June 8. First, Duerwachter paid $3.72 million for the building and a nearby vacant lot Then, Duerwachter resold the building and lot for $4.1 million to a company owned by Matthew A. O'Malley, a politically connected Chicago restaurant owner who had been negotiating to buy the property from Stratievsky.

    O'Malley bought the property with three loans -- including $1 million in city pension funds managed by DV Urban Realty Partners, a company co-owned by Mayor Daley's nephew, Robert Vanecko, and one of Daley's key African-American allies, Allison S. Davis. This was one of the investments Davis and Vanecko made after their newly created company was hired to manage $68 million for five pension funds for city workers, police officers, Chicago teachers and CTA workers.
Does the pension fund still own the Defender Building? Was everything on the up-and-up when this deal.....oh, who are we kidding? Nothing was on the up-and-up here. Flipping a $4 million building in one day with pension money from five city pensions that are so underfunded that Rahm is going to try to break them all in the next few days? Please.

But no one got charged criminally, sued civilly or answered to any sort of investigation that we recall. Did we miss it?

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Friday, November 29, 2013

St. Baldricks - Save the Date

It might be a bit early to start growing out the hair, but time enough to plan a last haircut before letting it grow out for next year.
  • Friday 14 March 2014 - locations to be announced
Keep an eye out for posters and check back here for information as it becomes available.


Guess What Time It Is?

  • Chicago's winter overnight parking ban goes into effect Sunday morning, December 1.

    Last year just over 300 vehicles were towed the first day of enforcement.

    The parking ban remains in effect until April 1.

    The restriction is in effect between 3 and 7 a.m. on main streets, even if there is no snow.

    Violation fees include a $150-dollar towing fee and a $60 ticket.
Rahm's going to have every tow truck he can lay his hands on cruising the streets on Saturday night. Make sure you aren't parked at dinner or a tavern and come out to find no car.


More Mortgage Fraud?

A whole bunch of people are looking at time over this. Now comes word of another mortgage scandal brewing:
  • A Chicago Police officer was ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bond Thursday after he was charged in a mortgage-fraud scheme that netted nearly $750,000.

    Darius Thompson, 32, of Chicago, was charged with multiple counts of felony theft, loan fraud, money-laundering, wire fraud and forgery for his alleged role in a plot to falsify mortgage applications during his previous employment as a loan processor and originator.

    Prosecutors claim Thompson’s co-defendant, Terrence Reese, filled out loan applications for buyers with inaccurate jobs, salaries and assets and then gave them to Thompson to submit while he worked at First Star Funding in Olympia Fields.

    Reese allegedly would then get fraudulent liens against the properties and pay Thompson a kickback. Prosecutors claim losses from the loans, filed on three different occasions in 2010 and 2011, are $749,162, with Thompson’s portion $42,717.

    Thompson, a probationary officer working out of the 5th District, was arrested Wednesday at CPD Headquarters at 3510 S. Michigan Ave.
So this is one of those things where actions prior to becoming the police are going to come back and haunt the rest of us? Though he barely has 3 minutes on the job and hasn't even finished probation, he's already labeled a "Chicago Police officer" and will carry that label through trial, separation, and if convicted, he'll be "convicted Chicago cop" at sentencing. How wonderful.


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