URBAN PHILOSOPHER
Conscience Laureate

Sunday, May 31, 2009

BOWLING SHOE LEGISLATION IS ALL WET!

BOWLING SHOE LEGISLATION IS ALL WET! With a crucial deadline to fix the state’s $12 billion budget deficit looming, Illinois Senators found time to vote and pass SB 1335 by a vote of 51-4. This important piece of legislation proclaims bowling shoes as “specialized footwear” and will help shield bowling alley owners from lawsuits that might result from bowlers who slip and fall because their bowling shoes got wet when they went outside and then came back into the bowling alley. This bill will allow bowling alleys to post signs throughout their building that bowling shoes should only be worn inside the alley. By having the warning signs, if a bowler goes outside and accumulate rain or snow on their bowling shoes it will not be the legal responsibility of the bowling alley owner if the bowler slips and falls inside the alley. The bill awaits Governor Quinn’s approval.
“It helps [owners] not to have to deal with negligent bowlers who go out to smoke or have wet feet and come in and sue them for something they’ve done that was not appropriate,” said Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago). “This does away with negligent lawsuits.”
Why would a subject that seems so trivial come to the attention of state lawmakers at a time when our state is in a fiscal crisis? Easy answer! A lobbyist!
Cook County Democratic Chairman Joseph Berrios, a member of the Cook County Board of Review and father of state Rep. Maria Antonia Berrios (D-Chicago), was among those lobbying for the bill. Joseph Berrios represents the Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association. How convenient for Father Berrios that his daughter is a member of the Illinois House.
So while I doubt that Father Barrios paid his daughter to influence her vote, he probably gave her a kiss and a hug in thanks. So we have a new category of influence to consider in Illinois politics—Kiss for Play! I can understand that because if George Clooney were lobbying me, I would do anything he asked me to in exchange for a kiss.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MEN IN POWER!

MEN IN POWER! Steve Saltarelli is a third-year at the University Of Chicago majoring in Law, Letters, and Society. That might sound boring, but Saltarelli is creating a national controversy with his formation of a new student group called Men in Power. Saltarelli wrote a column in The Maroon, the college newspaper, where he explained the reasons for the formation of his group:
“It’s no secret that since the 1990s, women outnumber—and out-graduate—men in American post-secondary education. Currently, the fairer sex accounts for 58 percent of the nation’s college students and many experts estimate that number rising above 66 percent in the coming decade. There to usher the growing masses through the university system are a myriad of women’s advocacy organizations, evidenced on our campus by 10 such RSOs, most notably the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, and Women in Business. There are zero such male-oriented Registered Student Organizations, as misleading as the name of the female a cappella troupe Men in Drag is.
As a member of the 49.6 percent of the students at this school with a Y chromosome, I feel it is my duty to ensure that similar resources are provided for males now and in the future. Without further ado, and beginning next quarter, I’d like to propose a new group entered into the University of Chicago RSO landscape: Men in Power (MiP).
Basically, Men in Power at the University of Chicago will serve as the flagship organization for a national group of the same name, working to spread awareness and promote understanding of issues and challenges facing men today. Many don’t realize that men are in power all around us—in fact, the last 44 presidents have been men, including our own Barack Obama. Embracing a range of gender identities and ideological positions, its members will work cooperatively to organize events and facilitate open discussion. Men in Power’s ultimate goal, however, will be to offer a unique opportunity for undergraduate men at the University of Chicago to expand and sharpen their knowledge of business, politics, and networking—giving them the skills they will need to become future leaders of the world.
I know what you’re thinking: This sounds really misogynistic.
I assure you, however, that the group would not be against or in any way attempt to inhibit the advancement of women. We would simply advocate for men in the same manner that female groups advocate for women. Anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism, may become a member of MiP.
Establishing a relationship with the university community as a whole will be crucial to the success of this nascent RSO. Accordingly, next quarter will feature a number of events aimed to raise the profile of Men in Power on campus. Firstly, we will be hosting weekly study breaks/screenings of movement-oriented films, including: A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men, Men of Honor (and many other Cuba Gooding Jr. masterpieces), All the President’s Men, and—of course—X-Men.”
Saltarelli said about 125 students -- including a few women -- have joined the group via its Facebook page.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Sharlene Holly, associate dean of students and the director of student activities, said the University of Chicago has about nine women's advocacy groups on campus, but this group would be the first men's advocacy group. Holly said she expected to approve the organization's application this week. As a registered student organization, Men in Power could then apply for event funding. The group plans to hold its first event, a student panel discussion titled Gender and Media: Trespassing the Taboo, on Tuesday. It's an enormous disparity now," said Warren Farrell, author of "The Myth of Male Power" and former board member of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. He noted, among other things, an imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interests of women and girls. Further, Farrell said, just because some men are doing well is hardly a reason not to applaud efforts to boost the careers of other men. I am so pleased that Saltarelli has formed this group. As a woman, I hate that we are allowed to have women’s organizations but if a man wants to have his own group he is called sexist. I think any group of people should be allowed to form any kind of organization they want as long as they don’t advocate the over-throwing of our government. Well, maybe with Barack in charge that would not be so bad! But, wait, we do have such a group it is called the Republican Party. I wonder where they have been?

Monday, May 25, 2009

CRYING IN YOUR BEER

CRYING IN YOUR BEER I quit smoking. Okay, I lied to get your attention. Everyone wants me to quit smoking because it would be better for my health. I agree to quit smoking when everyone else agrees to quit drinking. People justify liquor consumption by stating that a glass of wine is “good for your heart.” Maybe one glass of wine a day is healthy, but people do not stop at one glass. The Distilled Spirits Council of America is whining because the Illinois general Assembly is debating raising the state excise tax on alcohol. Dale Szyndrowski, Vice President of The Council claims, “With millions being spent to boost tourism in hopes of winning a 2016 Olympics bid, now is the worst time to hamstring consumers and hospitality businesses with increased taxes on alcohol.” What a specious argument! To argue that Chicago would not get an Olympic bid because liquor is expensive is almost too ludicrous to waste time arguing against. Liquor related accidents cause the death, destruction or maiming of thousands of innocent victims and their families. Statistics demonstrate that the likelihood of a fatal car accident increases dramatically when alcohol is involved. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 39% of the deaths taking place on roadways were alcohol related; 47% car accidents during holiday weekends involve alcohol crashes and that there is one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes.
Impaired driving is one of America’s most often committed and deadliest crimes. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, more than 1,400,000 people nationwide were arrested in 2003 for driving under the influence. I know that is an old number, but it is still scary!
In addition to these figures, estimates show that the economic and societal cost of alcohol related car accidents are very high. Alcohol impaired drivers cost American taxpayers about 21 to 24 billion dollars a year. Other studies show a much higher figure of $136 billion dollars is spent on alcohol related accidents. This is in addition to the huge insurance costs of alcohol related accidents and the injury, destruction and death that come with them. According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives and fifty to 75 percent of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive. More than 1.46 million drivers were arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed drivers in the United States. I only quoted statistics here that relate to car accidents. How many other statistics do I have to quote before people start understanding what mental, physical and emotional destruction is caused by excessive liquor consumption? At one time our country was smart enough to pass an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit the consumption of liquor, but then bent to enormous pressure and repealed it. When the 18th Amendment is restored, I will quit smoking in celebration. Unless a drunk driver kills me first.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CREDIT CARDS COMPANIES ARE NOT BAD!!

CREDIT CARDS COMPANIES ARE NOT BAD!! The people who abuse credit cards are bad! Let’s pretend you owned a store. You sold a product that people paid for. But some people who came into your store did not pay for your product, they stole it. Because, as the store owner, you had to be able to cover the loss of the thefts, you raised the price of your product. If customers did not like your higher prices, they could shop elsewhere. That is essentially the simple scenario for credit card companies. The credit card companies suffer billions of dollars in losses from both unpaid bills and theft. These companies have the right to charge a fee to customers for the use of their product. These companies have a right to charge interest rates if their customers do not pay their monthly bills. Nobody is holding a gun to the head of the credit card customer and telling them to ring up charges they cannot afford to pay. When a customer willingly makes charges and does not pay the bill, that is theft. It is a theft that essentially costs the good customers because the credit card companies have to be able to cover the losses. People should not be mad at credit card companies for the interest rates or the payment of a yearly fee, they should be mad at the consumers who do NOT pay their bills. It is the non-paying credit card customers that cost the rest of us money. One of the ways to solve the problem of high interest rate on credit cards is to lower the amount of credit an individual is allowed to have and to prevent a person from continuing to use their credit card when all they are doing is making a minimum monthly payment. If someone is only making the minimum payment, you already know they are in financial trouble, so cut them off. Instead Congress has the hubris to blame the credit card companies for the problems created by their users and they pass a bill limiting the rights of the credit card companies! Senator Richard Shelby, with solemn gravitas said, “Card issuers raise rates for unclear reasons, (KP question: Why does any company have to give a reason for raising their rates? Grocery stores change their prices every day) use billing methods that consumers do not understand, (KP statement: If the consumer is that stupid they should not have been issued a card to start with) and assign fees and charges without warning.” (KP statement: If you don’t like the business practices of a particular company, switch your credit card use.) The simple bottom line here for consumers is to not purchase items they cannot afford and pay your bill every month. This is not rocket science and even if you have a high enough line of credit and the ability to shop, doesn’t mean you should buy your own spaceship!

Friday, May 22, 2009

MANCOW GETS WATERBOARDED

MANCOW GETS WATERBOARDED I was in the WLS radio studio when nationally syndicated radio host Mancow Muller subjected himself to waterboarding torture to “prove” that the technique was not torture. His experiment proved him wrong. Marine Sgt Klay South (winner of two Purple Hearts medals) was on hand to administer the test as well as a Chicago paramedic. When asked if Mancow would be able to sustain water being poured on his face, Clay said,” The average person can take this for 14 seconds," "He's going to wiggle, he's going to scream, he's going to wish he never did this." The radio host thought this would be a piece of cake saying, “I go swimming all the time. I can hold my breath under water for at least 30 seconds. It will be easy” Mancow was strapped down on a 7 foot table and his feet were elevated and restrained. Clay covered Mancow’s face with a wet towel and held Mancow’s nose as he prepared to let the water start flowing. “I will count to five,” Clay said and then cruelly let the water flow at the count of two as he took Mancow by surprise. Mancow lasted about 6 or 7 seconds before he “threw in the towel” and bolted up sputtering and shaking. "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke, "Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture. That's drowning." He then said that the seven seconds of experiencing waterboarding instantly helped change his views on the interrogation tactic. "I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face...I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.'" "If I knew it was going to be this bad, I would not have done it." After finishing his WLS radio show. Mancow traveled to the WGN-TV studio to discuss the event live on the Noon news. Even though it had been a few hours since the waterboarding he was still shaken and trembling. What might have started out as a typical radio stunt turned into a learning experience that Mancow said he would never forget. He admitted that if he were interrogated by waterboarding technique he would confess to anything including “having sex with Shaquille O’Neal on the family dining room table during Thanksgiving.” Remind me next November not to go to his house for dinner.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NEW POLITICALLY CORRECT PHRASES

NEW POLITICALLY CORRECT PHRASES Robert D. Manewith wrote me this morning, “Due to the climate of political correctness now pervading America-- Kentuckians, Tennesseans and West Virginians no longer will be referred to as 'HILLBILLIES.' You must now refer to them as “APPALACHIAN-AMERICANS. “ Because I am a short, chubby blonde woman—from now on—please refer to me as a '”Vertically and Horizontally Challenged Light -Haired Detour Off The Information Superhighway.” Bob sent me some other phrases that are quite funny and I wanted to share them. HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT WOMEN AND BE POLITICALLY CORRECT: 1. She is not a 'BABE' or a 'CHICK' – She is a 'BREASTED AMERICAN.' 2. She is not 'EASY' – She is 'HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE.' 3. She is not a 'DUMB BLONDE' – She is a 'LIGHT-HAIRED DETOUR OFF THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.' 4. She has not 'BEEN AROUND' – She is a 'PREVIOUSLY-ENJOYED COMPANION.' 5. She does not 'NAG' you – She becomes 'VERBALLY REPETITIVE.' 6. She is not a 'TWO-BIT HOOKER' – She is a 'LOW COST PROVIDER.' HOW TO SPEAK ABOUT MEN AND BE POLITICALLY CORRECT: 1. He does not have a 'BEER GUT' – He has developed a 'LIQUID GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY.' 2. He is not a 'BAD DANCER' - He is 'OVERLY CAUCASIAN.' 3. He does not 'GET LOST ALL THE TIME' – He 'INVESTIGATES ALTERNATIVE DESTINATIONS.' 4. He is not 'BALDING' – He is in 'FOLLICLE REGRESSION.' 5. He does not act like a 'TOTAL ASS' – He develops a case of RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION.'

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FAREWELL JERRY, WE WISH WE WERE SAYING HELLO.

FAREWELL JERRY, WE WISH WE WERE SAYING HELLO.
In the May 19th edition of the Chicago Tribune, reporter Steve Johnson wrote a cover story in the LIVE section of the newspaper that was a vicious, castigating diatribe against Jerry Springer. Johnson is glad the show is leaving Chicago. I am saddened the show is departing and I sent the following Letter to the Editors of the Tribune.
Letters to the Editor Chicago Tribune 435 N. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611 May 19, 2009 Dear Editorial Board, I am baffled by the mean-spirited story that Steve Johnson wrote about Jerry Springer. (Farewell Jerry, We Hardly Knew You) I was a consultant to the show in the early years and learned to love a brilliant man whose depth of knowledge of politics and world affairs is astounding. Jerry is a graduate of Northwestern Law School, so his Chicago connection goes back many years before he started broadcasting here. Would Johnson castigate Anthony Hopkins because he played the character of Hannibal Lechter in “Silence of the Lambs?” No, he would not—because Hopkins was playing a character. Steve Johnson obviously has a problem separating the “man” Jerry Springer from the “character” he plays as host of The Jerry Springer Show. Jerry himself, many times, has pointed out that his show is not rocket science but that it plays a role in the cultural landscape of our country. In the 18 years that the show has broadcast from Chicago, thousands upon thousands of guests and studio audience members came to our city to be a part of the show and to spend money at our hotels and restaurants. Those visits translate into millions of tourist dollars spent in Chicago that will be sorely missed. Chicago will also be losing out on the tax dollars of all of the salaries generated from the staff of the Springer Show as Stamford, Connecticut welcomes him with open arms. His charitable endeavors have not been publicized because Springer is a modest man—unlike Oprah Winfrey who holds a press conference every time she gives a dollar away. In the years that I have known him, he has never once said, “no” to me when I have asked for his help with one of the many not for profit boards I sit on. He has donated millions of dollars to numerous Chicago organizations—The Museum of Broadcast Communications, The Park School, Barat College in Evanston and the list goes on. Steve Johnson might want to say “Farewell” to Jerry Springer, but those of use who know him wish we were saying, “Hello” instead. Kathy Posner

Sunday, May 17, 2009

LAKEFRONT PARKING REVENUE PROJECTIONS MAKE NO SENSE

LAKEFRONT PARKING REVENUE PROJECTIONS MAKE NO SENSE The Chicago Park District announced that starting in the Fall; the free parking spots on the lakefront will become metered parking. It does not bother me that these spaces will become metered—why have they been free all this time anyway—what bother me is that the revenue projection numbers make no sense! (This is where my friend Linda Shafran’s eyes will glaze over and she will stop reading this blog!) There are 4,400 parking spaces that will cost $1/hour to park at. If we estimate an average of only 5 hours/day of parking revenue ( more hours in the Spring/Summer and less in the Fall/Winter) that would result in a gross revenue of $22,000/day. Simply multiply that by 365 days and one arrives at the figure of a yearly gross revenue of $8,030,000. The Park District has announced that they expect to net approximately $700,000 the first year of metered parking and then net approximately $1.5 million in subsequent years after the start up costs have been paid. How does an entity only net $1.5 million from a gross of $8 million? Where is the $6.5 million difference going? We haven’t even counted in the revenue from the parking tickets that people will incur at $50 each. Standard Parking has been awarded the contract of managing the meters for a very reasonable fee of $86,000 plus the costs of operating expenses and installing the meters and pay boxes. The cost of the meters and pay boxes have been figured into year one, so we need to figure out the operating expenses. There will be no employees to empty the meters because there will be pay boxes. Most people will use credit cards, but employees will be needed to empty the pay boxes of any cash. Since pay boxes cover multiple parking spaces, there will not be 4400 parking boxes. If every parking box covers only eight cars, that would result in 550 parking boxes. How long does it take to empty a parking box? Let us call it 5 minutes for the box (I doubt if it takes that long, but I am being generous) and 5 minutes to walk to the next box to empty. So I am being very liberal in saying that it would take a worker 10 minutes to service each box. At 10 minutes per box for servicing and walking (remember we have 550 boxes) that results in 5500 minutes of manpower or 91 hours of work. If each box were emptied twice a week, that would result in 182 hours a week of work which 5 people could cover. If the 5 people were paid $50,000/year with benefits that would result in labor operating costs of $250,000. So now I have figured approximately $250,000 in yearly labor costs and $86,000 for the Standard Parking contract for a total of $336,00/year. Let’s throw in repairs costs of the boxes and meters and call the total operating expenses at $500,000/year. So if operating expenses are $500,000 and revenue is $8,000,000, how come the Park District estimates only $1.5 million in revenue? Where is the missing $6 million? Why is the city so underestimating the amount of revenue the parking will produce? Like the TV character The Six Million Dollar Man, the revenue story for the lakefront is fabricated.

Friday, May 15, 2009

FLINTSTONES, MEET THE FLINTSTONES

As catchy a song as that is, imagine if you had to listen to it 10 hours a day? That is what those of us who live on Michigan Avenue are forced to endure from the saxophone of a street musician on the corner of Michigan and Huron.
Becoming a "licensed" street musician in Chicago is very easy. Street musicians are regulated by Chicago City Ordinance, Municipal Code 4-268. There is no talent requirement, only the paying of a $100.00 fee. By paying the fee one gets a street performer photo ID card that allows the “musician” to perform in a public area. No amplified music is allowed. According to the Department of Business Affairs, there are approximately 400 licensed performers.
In speaking to Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward), I once offered to hold a “Chicago’s Got Talent,” competition, hosted by Jerry Springer, that would require “street musicians” to prove that they had some talent before they could get a license. While Reilly liked the idea, he said we would be violating the “performers’ First Amendment rights.
Alderman Reilly is planning on getting even tougher on street musicians who drive downtown residents to distraction by banging on plastic buckets all day or playing "The Flintstones" theme song in a continuous loop on the saxophone.
It is not just me being cranky! The SUN TIMES reported, “The “bucket boys” continuous pounding creates more than just a sound nuisance. Troupes of "bucket boys" set the stage for pick- pocketing and snatch-and-grab incidents.” Alderman Reilly said "There is a criminal element. Some crews use their performance merely as a distraction to lure unsuspecting tourists. And there are people in those crews who are tasked with reaching into people's shopping bags, purses or wallets to make off with their valuables." Alderman Reilly also noted that some drummers have "lengthy criminal records."
"Imagine a boom-boom-boom for six hours outside your window. If you're trying to work, it sounds as if they're playing their instruments in your office. And it's tremendously disruptive . . . on residents," Reilly said. "Street performer noise comes up at literally every condo association I address."
Reilly's ordinance, introduced this week, would replace the three-strikes-and-you're out clause that strips street performers of their license if they violate the noise limit to just two violations within one year. The noise limit requires musician’s music volume to not be louder than an "average conversational level" that can be heard 100 feet away, horizontally or vertically. A violation within 200 feet, primarily caused by amplifiers, would trigger an automatic revocation. Performers, who draw a crowd large enough to obstruct the public way, forcing pedestrians into the street, could be forced to move at least two blocks.
Either I move or they move. With Alderman Reilly on my side, I think I will be able to stay put!

Monday, May 11, 2009

CHUTZPAH- CHICAGO STYLE

CHUTZPAH- CHICAGO STYLE Chutzpah is derived from the Hebrew ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence", "audacity", and "impertinence. In Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame. Leo Rosten in THE JOYS OF YIDDUSH defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and a grudging admiration. The most famous example of the ultimate of chutzpah is: "A boy, having just been convicted of murdering his parents, begs the judge for leniency because he is an orphan." The word chutzpah should be a regular part of any Chicagoan’s vocabulary because we see so many instances of it every day. Zodak Yocan is a part-time 44th Ward employee and he fashioned a homemade dashboard placard –complete with a City of Chicago seal on it and the words “44th Ward Official Business”—that would “allow” him to park anywhere; not pay for the meter and not get a ticket. City ordinance forbids unauthorized use of the City seal. When asked about the placard that he keeps on his dashboard, Yonan said, “Nobody gave it to me. I made it. I’ve worked for the Alderman’s office for 25 years. We’re so busy in the office, sometimes you forget to put the money in. The sign is there for the meter maids to know. There’s no problem with that.” When his boss, 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, was asked about the placard, he said, “We don’t have any official 44th Ward business signs.” First incidence of chutzpah is a man who has worked for the city for 25 years claiming that he did not know he could not reproduce the seal of the City of Chicago for his personal use. Second incidence of chutzpah is his thinking that he is the only person who is so busy in an office that they would forget to put the money in the meter. Third incidence of chutzpah is that every person who works for the City of Chicago is technically participating in “official business,” so didn’t Yocan wonder why he never saw a placard on any of the other 38,000 City of Chicago employee’s cars claiming they were on “official business?” I look forward to reading tomorrow’s papers and learning whether Yocan was fired or reprimanded in any way. Another recent example of chutzpah the Chicago way is Drew Peterson’s lawyer Joel Brodsky investigating the pros and cons of asking for a change of venue in the murder trial of his client because the case is so high profile in the Chicago area. Why is the case so high profile? Maybe because Peterson hired a PR firm and has been conducting radio, TV and print interviews for the past year! Low profile means keeping your mouth shut and Peterson PAID to have his mouth open and his words heard by as many people as possible. His children should throw themselves on the mercy of the court and ask for their surname to be changed because their father killed their mother and they will be orphans when their father goes up in smoke in the electric chair.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

“BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE TEN GRAND? “ Sunday’s CHICAGO TRIBUNE presented a story about an annual fund raising ritual in Springfield. TRIBUNE reporters Ray Long, Monique Garcia and Ashley Rueff wrote: “A spring ritual in the state capital unfolded last week: Hundreds of lobbyists, union members, lawmakers and Democrats boarded a shuttle bus to a country club on Lake Springfield, for the chance to shake hands with a grateful Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan at his annual campaign fundraiser.A similar but smaller event was held for new Senate President John Cullerton at a downtown Chicago restaurant a few days earlier. The guest list was more exclusive -- only clients and others invited by event host Milan Petrovic, a lobbyist who rose to prominence as a top fundraiser for indicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich." After many more paragraphs on how legislators are collecting money from lobbyists, the story concluded with: “Cullerton said many in attendance were Petrovic's lobbying clients, which state reports reveal include a variety of firms doing or seeking state business involving technology, health care and other fields.” The Coup de gras of the story is that in what has been called by key Democrats ” the worst economy since the great depression,” Senator Cullerton’s comment on his fund raising was: "I doubt that any of the people that were there gave more than $10,000," Cullerton said. "I don't know, by the way, how much money I got. I didn't see it. I have no idea. I'm trying to raise a lot of money." Brother can you spare 10 grand? Former Congressman Michael Flanagan told me, “You want real reform, prohibit lobbyists from writing checks to politicians. That solves all of the influence problems; but the politicians are so disingenuous on the subject that they would never vote for this reform. “ There currently is no other way for bank rolling campaigns except for fund raising. Using one’s own money to get something one wants is viewed as “elitist” and as “buying an election.” Years ago, disgusted from all the political fund raising letters I was receiving, I wrote, as a joke, a personal fund raising letter. The concept, that a “regular person” should ask their friends to give them money so the “regular person” could improve their lot in life, is the same as a politician asking for money to improve their chances of getting a new position. I have copied the letter below, enjoy! Citizens for Kathy Posner Chicago, IL 60611 Dear Friend, I need your help. After years of working hard at Comm² Inc., I have realized that to take my company to even a higher level; I need to change my image. This campaign will not be easy. There are many facets to the chore of changing one’s image, and those facets, which each need to be honed correctly, are very expensive. Although we have always joked that people should accept me as I am, no one wins the race of life without being dressed in designer clothes, carrying a Channel briefcase and wearing a diamond studded Rolex watch. That is where you come in…I need your money. This campaign of beauty could easily cost $100,000. Personal trainers, hairdressers, manicurists, wardrobe consultants, speech therapists, chauffeurs etc. are just some of the people that I will need to hire to make this crusade succeed. Your hard-earned dollars are what I need to make these necessities a reality. One of the most difficult things to do is to ask someone for money, but I have to have the resources to compete in the rat race of life. I need your dollars now! Every dollar that I have early in this campaign is worth at least three dollars later. I promise you that I will work very hard in making myself beautiful. I will win this battle, and promise you that once I become more beautiful, I will remember all you did to help. I would like you to be a member of my finance committee. Would you please sit down right now, not tomorrow or next week, and write a check for $1,000, $2,000 or even $5,000 and mail it to me? Please make the check to Kathy Posner. Please consider sending even a bit more than you think you can afford, because I deserve your money. Your campaign contribution is not tax deductible, but is necessary for me to win. I appreciate your friendship. I hope that I can count on your thoughts, support and money during this campaign. Best Wishes, Kathy Posner

Friday, May 8, 2009

COST OF CONDOM VS. COST OF RAISING A CHILD

COST OF CONDOM VS. COST OF RAISING A CHILD Gallop released a survey this week that poorer women are stopping taking contraceptives or changing to less-expensive, less- reliable methods because they cannot afford their current method. The survey was commissioned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Six percent of women using a hormonal form of birth control, such as the pill, said they had abandoned the method because they could not afford it. Dr. Iffath Hoskins, vice president of the obstetricians group said about 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. “ In good economic times, many families are happy to welcome another child, but when money is tight, an unintended pregnancy can be a disaster.” "Still, contraceptives are expensive and difficult to obtain in the U.S. compared with many other countries," said Dr. Rebekah Gee, an obstetrician and gynecologist who served on the Obama administration transition team. Contraceptives are expensive? I checked at Walgreens.com and one can buy 48 extra sensitive lubricated premium latex condoms for $16.99. That is a cost of about 35 cents each! I question also why the women who are having unprotected sex do not demand that the man they are sleeping with pay for the condom? If he wants it, he should pay for it! Now let us compare the 35 cent condom to the cost of raising a child. According to Money Central at MSNBC.com it is estimated “that families making $70,200 a year or more will spend a whopping $269,520 to raise a child from birth through age 17. Higher-income families in urban areas in the West spend the most, $284,460. Though not as steep, the figures for lower-income families are just as unsettling: $184,320 for families earning $41,700 to $70,200 and $134,370 for families making less than that. That breaks down to nearly $15,000 a year from birth to age 2 for families in the $65,800 -plus income bracket. As your child ages, he or she gets even more expensive, topping out at $15,810 from ages 15 to 17. This is no back-of-the-envelope guesstimate. The survey involves visits to, and interviews with, about 5,000 households, four times a year. " If you do not want to have a child, try abstinence. If you want a 90% chance of not having a child, use a condom. But the odds of your having a baby without any protection is about 100% over time, so pay the 35 cents and don’t make me the taxpayer support your child! NOTE: A prize to the first person who can explain why the picture on this blog fits the subject matter.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN WE OVERSPEND?

HOW MUCH MONEY CAN WE OVERSPEND? In speaking to my learned friend, former Congressman Michael Flanagan, I was informed that right now the Federal government is OVERSPENDING its income by about $1.5 TRILLION a year. That might be a hard number to fathom, so I will reduce it to a manageable, understandable number. How about $1 BILLION every 6 hours, day in and day out—24 hours a day? Everyone understands a BILLION dollars because you start overspending that much every six hours and now you are talking real money! I want to make sure that everyone understands that the $1 BILLION per 6 hours is not just SPENDING, but OVERSPENDING!! Big difference! Yet with all this OVERSPENDING, Obama announces today that we cannot afford the defense budget and that it would be cut deeply. Our nation can OVERSPEND on all sorts of social spending—putting the country into inconceivable debt—yet the defense of our nation is an affront to the Liberals running the show. The rules on Obama’s Stimulus Money package are insane. Just one example of this is what happened recently in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pawtucket is on the verge of bankruptcy. The city has a $5.2 million school budget deficit, a $4.8 million municipal deficit and has eliminated 40 city jobs this year. What did they do with their federal stimulus money? They are constructing a skateboard park at a local school. When local officials were asked why a city in so much financial trouble is building a skateboard park the answer was, “that projects had to be “shovel-ready” to receive funding and that this is the one we have that is shovel-ready.” How about $100 million in stimulus money for a program that only has ONE EMPLOYEE? The website AllGov.com recently reported that the stimulus fund will give $100 million to the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP), a public-private organization that was created in 1983 to help provide for the needs of hungry and homeless Americans. The program, which is supposed to be overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), awards grants to local social service organizations. It sounds like a good idea, but there’s one catch: the EFSP has only ONE EMPLOYEE. A recent report by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security put the problem succinctly: “Staff within the Emergency Food and Shelter Program declined from six in 1997 to one in 2008, According to FEMA program officials, this decline led to a significant decrease in financial and program monitoring. Having one staff member responsible for both monitoring activities reduces FEMA’s ability to ensure the appropriate use of grant funds.” A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told The Center for Public integrity that, despite the influx of $100 million are no plans to add to EFSP’s staff of one. Maybe if I hire an assistant and have a staff of TWO, I can get $200 million in stimulus money. Anybody want the job?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

RISK YOUR LIFE FOR A DOG?

RISK YOUR LIFE FOR A DOG? This blog will get animal lovers (I love dogs) upset, but I think Jess Craigie, the marine biologist who jumped into Lake Michigan was reckless and should be charged for the costs of the Chicago Police Marine unit who had to rescue her from the water. Why should we, as taxpayers, be responsible for the costs of her stupidity? STUPID ACT NUMBER ONE-Jess let her dog Moxie OFF her leash. Jess was quoted as saying, “She loves to chase the birds,” in explanation about why Moxie took off after the seagull. If you know your dog chases after seagulls, you don’t let them off the leash at a beach on a pier. STUPID ACT NUMBER TWO- She IGNORED the man on the pier who tried to dissuade her from jumping in. Jess should have listened to a voice of reason. STUPID ACT NUMBER THREE- She JUMPED into Lake Michigan to rescue Moxie. The life of a human being is worth more than the life of an animal (PETA people are screaming now). STUPID ACT NUMBER FOUR-She DID NOT take her shoes off. That is really brilliant! Jump into a cold lake fully clothes and leave your shoes on. STUPID ACT NUMBER FIVE- Her quote, “…I love my dogs. They would have done the same for me.” Unless one of her pets were Lassie, the dog would not be able to fathom the situation and reason that by their jumping in a lake they could save their owner. So because of Jess’ stupidity, three Chicago Police marine officers had to stop what ever important work they were doing and go after Jess. People who were waiting in the emergency room of Northwestern Hospital has to wait even longer for their turn for treatment for their REAL medical emergency so Jess could be treated for hypothermia. As blog follower Kevin Black told me, “I think they should make her pay the cost of her rescue for being so stupid. A stupid tax perhaps?” Payment of taxes for being stupid could result in a monetary fund large enough that it could be used to replace the current Cook County Sales tax. Perhaps Todd Stroger should look into that. But it would personally cost him too much money!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FIRST CHANCE BEFORE SECOND CHANCE

FIRST CHANCE BEFORE SECOND CHANCE Mayor Daley, the keynote speaker at the St. Leonard’s Adult High School, handed high school diplomas to 80 ex-convicts last week and VOWED to put more former inmates in city jobs. Daley told the graduates that they are “role models” and among the alumni he spoke to was a woman who now works for the CTA. “They’re working all over. We got ‘em working the CTA. We hope that if employment gets better in the city, we’ll put ‘em in the city. “ Part of the Shakman decree of 1972 lead to a court order in 1983 that made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees (with exceptions for positions such as policy making). By making the statement he did, The Mayor cleverly, but not overtly, let city officials know what his wishes are when it comes to the hiring of to ex-felons A City Hall source told me that having a criminal record does not hinder a candidate’s chance for being hired for a position unless the crime had something to do with what the position would be. For instance, if someone were convicted of theft, they would not be considered for a position that had anything to do with the handling of cash, but they would be considered for a job with Streets & Sanitation. “A potential city employee does not get a mark against them for having a criminal record and a potential employee with a “clean record” does not get anymore consideration than the felon.” I was told. I find this patently unfair. I believe in a first chance for someone with a “clean record” is more important than giving a felon a second chance. Why don’t we just put all the potential employees’ names in a big drum and randomly choose who the City hires? That system would work as fairly as the one that exists now! I guess Mayor Daley wanted to confirm Cook County Board president Todd Stroger’s statement that “I’m sure employees get arrested all the time.”

Friday, May 1, 2009

THE THOUGHT POLICE ARE COMING

THE THOUGHT POLICE ARE COMING This past Wednesday, The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1913 - Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by a vote of 249-175. Now this legislation will go to the Senate for them to discuss. At first glance, one would think that this bill is a good idea because it would expand the definition of a hate crime and hate crimes are hateful! But the wording of this bill has a very scary component. Under this bill, the definition of a hate crime would be expanded to include violent offenses motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or disability. According to This Week in Washington, an e-newsletter from the Office of the Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor sent to me by my dear friend former Congressman Michael Patrick Flanagan, one could “argue that the legislation would turn law enforcement into thought police, forcing them to determine what a person was thinking while he or she committed a crime. Moreover, it would protect some victims over others and would federalize crimes that the states are already handling on their own.” How can we enact a law that contains the word, perceived? Perceived is defined as to become aware of, know or identify by means of the senses. My sense of something can be totally different than someone else’s sense of something. I perceive that I look fat in a picture, yet my friend Karen Phelan perceives that I don’t look fat. Whose perception is correct? Perceived is such an ambiguous word; legislation cannot not be ambiguous. In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter tried to explain “hard-core” pornography, or what is obscene, by saying,” I shall not today attempt to further define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced… but I know it when I see it…” What Justice Potter might perceive as pornography would not be perceived the same way by Hugh Hefner.
This bill also declares that nothing in the Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech. Again we have a conundrum because according to the First Amendment, the United States Congress is expressively prohibited from making laws that infringe the freedom of speech. HR 1913 would infringe the freedom of speech if a law enforcement official perceived that my speech was hateful.
Because I like statistics, it is interesting to note that The FBI's annual "Uniform Crime Report" consistently shows that so-called "hate crimes" constitute only about 1/15th of 1% of all crime in America. Of this 1/15th of 1%, most have not been adjudicated but are called "crime" because of the conclusions of investigating police. Actually, most are "suspected bias crimes incidents," not proven crimes.
While I support prosecution of hate crimes, I cannot support this legislation because of the wording of the bill. I urge my blog followers to contact their Senators and ask for a more carefully worded bill from the Senate.
JPEG photo conversion thanks to Kevin Black