Conscience Laureate

Friday, July 31, 2009


LBGT CITY CONTRACT SET-ASIDES; FOR OR AGAINST? I have been trying to write a blog in rebuttal to Mayor Daley's saying that he would support a city effort to give preferential treatment of city contracts to businesses owned by gays and lesbians. I had started and stopped the blog about 10 times as I had not been able to find the politically correct wording for my sentiments of being against the idea. Because I am not a lesbian, I was afraid anything I would write would sound discriminatory and biased. I spoke with an African-American Alderman on Thursday and asked him how he felt about the possibility of set-asides for the LBGT community. He is against them. He said that the idea behind the set-asides was to create a level playing field for groups of people who had been discriminated against in the past. He added the thought that how could you prove that there had been contractual discriminations against a gay-owned business in the past? How do you even know it is a gay-owned business? I brought up the fact that I could easily prove that I was a woman by allowing a doctor to examine my genitalia, but without showing sexually-oriented video, how does one PROVE that they are gay? Just as I was about to give up on writing on this topic; I read Greg Hinz blog in Crain’s Chicago Business. Hinz, who is gay, is the political columnist for the magazine. I respect his writing and his views. Hinz does not want set-asides for gays and expressed it so well; Hinz wrote what I wanted to write. I have copied his blog below. His blog can be found daily on the Crain’s web site at www.chicagobusiness.com. Dear Mr. Mayor: thanks but no thanks on set-asides for gay businesses Posted by Greg H. at 7/30/2009 1:38 PM CDT on Chicago Business
Mayor Richard M. Daley may have thought he was doing gay men and lesbians a favor when he pretty much endorsed a proposal by Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the city's first openly gay alderman, to set aside a certain share of city contracts for firms owned by homosexuals.
On behalf of what I suspect is a pretty big share of the community, I want to thank both for their gesture. I also want to suggest that this bad idea be filed right back in whatever drawer it came out of, 'cause this is not something Chicago needs, for straight or gay people.
Most gay and lesbian people just want what everybody else wants, to be treated the same as everyone else. That means no nasty names — I'll allow an exception if the queen next to me won't shut up when I finally get around to seeing Bruno — no discrimination and, yes, indeed, the right to be just as miserable in marriage as most straight couples pretend to be.
"Equality" doesn't mix with "preference." And that's what's wrong with this proposal.
For African-Americans, who clearly suffered decades of legal discrimination — and slavery — set-asides may make sense. The black entrepreneurial class was destroyed. It's just now beginning to get on its feet. Go to any African-American neighborhood and see who owns the stores if you don't believe me. Making up for past injustices was a matter of, well, justice. But even among blacks, it's come at a cost. African-American who make it on their own now surely have to face some degree of a new kind of prejudice: questions about whether they made it on their own or only because they got extra help, and therefore really aren't as good.
While gay folks surely have suffered pain from discrimination — e.g. being taxed as singles, no matter how long a couple has been together — I don't know that their businesses have lost work because they're gay-owned.
To double-check that theory, I checked with one of my favorite lesbian entrepreneurs. That would be landscaper Christie Webber, whose firm of the same name is doing just fine — in part because Ms. Webber knows the usefulness of a well-timed campaign contribution to the right pol. But we don't need to go there.
"For me, being a lesbian actually is an advantage," Ms. Webber says. If she's out on a job with a bunch of blue-collar boys and they start eyeing some foxy babe, both parties (the boys and Ms. Webber) can agree that, yes indeed, "she's hot." Kinda breaks the ice.
Now, Ms. Webber says she can image that gay men have the opposite problem, at least in some professions. She may be right. But I gotta tell you, America, the ghetto profession no longer is hair burning or similar stereotypical gigs. It's information technology. We keep your computers running, and most of us do just as well as anyone else.
Ms. Webber raised another point of interest: corruption.
Any political reporter worth his salt knows that, if you want to find a scandal, you go pull all the records on minority set-asides. When favoritism gets involved with government, bad things happen, however good the intentions.
Ergo, "Maybe they ought to fix those programs first, before adding a whole new category," Ms. Webber says.
And there's one other little detail: proof.
If you're black or Hispanic, it's pretty obvious. But if you're gay or lesbian, how do you prove it? Spend a night with Rich Daley? Sorry, he's not my type. Someone on his staff? Sorry, the two really cute guys there have moved on.
So, alderman and mayor, thanks for your concern. But in a city that's hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole, there's got to be something more important to worry about.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Since 2003, the Center for Disease Control has been tracking how many people have only cell phones and not land lines at home. Why would the CDC track cell phone use? What is the correlation between diseases and what type of phone service you use? Stephen Blumberg, senior scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the CDC) said that in 2003, when the CDC realized that people giving up land lines could cause potential bias in the center's health surveys, which are taken over land line phones, they decided to track cell phone use. There are astounding health differences between those with and without land lines. Wireless-only adults are more likely to smoke, binge drink, have no health insurance and not wear a seat belt, according to Blumberg. The CDC doesn't know why this is, but it collects the information to mitigate distortion in surveys. "It may be as simple as persons who are wireless-only are more likely to be out with friends, socializing outside the home," Blumberg said. So the CDC is spending money on tracking cell phone use and the habits of cell -phone- only users, but then only “speculates” as to why the wire-less only adults are such deadbeats! If the CDC is compiling statistics on the habits of cell -phone- only users, then they should take it to the next step and found out why cell- phone only -users are smokers and binge drinkers. Then at least the CDC would have an “angle” on why they care about cell phone use. While the CDC is wasting tax dollars in tracking how many people are wireless only, I easily discovered that they could get all the statistics they need from the web site of The CTIA, the international trade group for the wireless telecommunications trade industry that tracks cell phone use! There were 270 million cell phones in use in December, the most recent figure available from CTIA. That figure is more than double the 110 million cell phones in 2000. CTIA also reports that 87 percent of Americans have a cell phone they take everywhere. How stupid is the CDC in not going to the telecommunications trade industry group and just asking for the statistics? It would have taken just one phone call to get the information. I guess the researcher’s cell phone did not have enough bars!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WHERE IS THE THIRD HAND? The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute issued a report that found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting. Since it takes at least one hand to drive (one would hope that drivers of heavy trucks were actually using both hands) and two hands to text and since yesterday’s blog bragged that I am a member of Mensa, that allows me to ask the stupid rhetorical question, “Where is the third hand?” This study, which was funded for $300,000 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, had trucks fitted with video cameras that captured the drivers' faces in the six seconds leading up to and during a crash or a near miss. Six millions miles of driving was observed. The videos showed texting to be an extremely high-risk behavior, mainly because it is associated with drivers taking their eyes off the road.
The District of Columbia and 14 states ban texting while driving, (Illinois has a bill waiting for Governor Quinn’s signature on the ban) and yet the truck drivers texted while being taped. So the heavy truck drivers knew they were being videotaped (no hidden cameras!) and yet they risked their jobs and texted while driving. The stupidity factor here is incredible! Were the drivers that were captured texting while driving fired? (My second stupid rhetorical question.)
The study also showed that right before a crash or near-collision; drivers spent nearly five seconds looking at their texting devices, which was enough time at 55 mph to cover more than the length of a football field. Now for my last stupid rhetorical question-when was the last time a trucker was driving at the rate of only 55 miles per hour? The study should have used higher rates of speed in its analysis.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, funded by us taxpayers has the mission statement that they are,” focused on reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.” So $300,000 of our money was spent to report that texting while driving a heavy truck is bad. I could have reported that for free if anyone had asked me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If you have to wear a Mensa pin you are not that smart

If you have to wear a Mensa pin you are not that smart
I am a member of Mensa. Mensa is an organization (as described on its web site) that “was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which was a high IQ. The original aims were, as they are today, to create a society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population, with the objective of enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities."
Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.
The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. The name stands for a round-table society, where race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant. After I became a member of Mensa (I had to take a test), I proudly wore a Mensa pin on my lapel. A friend said to me, “If you have to wear a pin to prove to everybody how smart you are, then you must not be that smart!” I have never worn the pin since. Many years ago I was a panelist on The Geraldo Show (and met Executive Producer Bonnie Kaplan who has been my friend ever since) where the topic was “Smart Women Who Intimidate Men.” The smartest statement made at the show was actually from an audience member who reported that she had been out driving with a friend who was a nuclear scientist with a PhD from Harvard when the tire blew out on their car. The gentleman did not know how to change the tire, so at that point he was the stupidest man she knew. That proved what I always felt which was being smart has to do with what you can accomplish at a particular moment in time, it is not what your IQ is. Almost every day, after my blog is posted, I receive an e-mail from Editor Robert Manewith pointing out some grammatical error I have made in my writing. I encourage Robert to let me know of my shortcomings, because I am smart enough to realize that Robert knows more about editing than I do. I am sure I will hear from him again today. Robert sent me a copy of the Washington Post’s annual Mensa game that asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and then supply a new definition. Here are the 2009 winners. Enjoy them and try to create some new words of your own.
1. Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole
.3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
5. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic Fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpillar: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Monday, July 27, 2009


HAVING “PEOPLE” This morning when reading my e-mails, I found I had a note from Bobbie asking how my appearance went on WBBM TV last Friday. Because Bobbie is the scheduler for my vascular surgeon, Dr. Pearce, she is a very important person in my life. Bobbie is one of a crowd that I refer to as “my people” Friends make jokes about how I always talk about “my people” and “my guys” who help make my life easier. I could not survive without “my people.” It truly takes a village to run my life. I have “guys” everywhere. From my Jaguar dealership ( my new service” guy” is actually a woman, Melina) to Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Rob); Walgreen’s (Donovan); Coca Cola (John); American Airlines (June and Mary Francis); Horseshoe Casino (Teresa is my “main person” even though I have other “guys” at the casino) and the list goes on and on. How does anyone exist without “guys” and “people”? David, the son of Sue, my fan club president, is always calling me and asking, “Do we have a guy at??” I laugh at his use of the word “we” and answer, “Yes, I have a guy at…” I was in New York visiting my Aunt Helaine a few weeks ago and stayed at a brand new Ritz Carlton. I did not have any “guys” there because it was the first time I had been at the hotel. By the time my stay was over, I had a personal driver (Carmine) and a doorman (Kevin) who were my “guys.” When I arrived back home, I immediately wrote an e-mail that was forwarded to Ritz Carlton headquarters where I praised the quality of service at the hotel and lauded my “guys.” I always make sure to take care of “my guys.” Having “people” is not a one way street. I do not expect “my guys” to always be doing things for me; I try to do things for them also. I do not walk into my doctor’s office without some little present for “my people” as thanks for taking care of me; I always hold up a can of Diet Coke whenever I make a media appearance; I praise the service and prices at Walgreen’s; I loyally only fly American Airlines; I plug Horseshoe Casino constantly, etc. etc. I am vocally “their “guy.” So what is the purpose of today’s blog? I am not ranting at anyone or anything. I am not calling for an investigation of illegal practices. Is the end of the world near? Has Kathy gone soft? Before panic sets in, be assured I am as tough as ever. It all started this morning after I got the e-mail from Bobbie and when I needed directions from Horseshoe Casino to the Chicago Legal Clinic and “my guy” Teresa came through. I just wanted to thank them for being “my people.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

STRIP CLUB OKAY, BUT… According to mapquest.com it is 1.51 miles (three minutes) to drive from 19240 San Carlos Blvd in Fort Myers Beach, FL to 2523 Estero Blvd. In fact they are the continuation of the same street, just with different names. The first address is the strip club “Fantasy at the Beach” and the second one is City Hall. In that area throw in a Hooters restaurant, a head shop and a few tattoo parlors and one gets the feel of the ambiance of the location.
With a strip club located so near to City Hall, one would not think that the Fort Myers Beach Mayor and Councilmen would be prudes. But they are. Town manager Scott Janke was fired recently in a 5-0 vote when it was discovered his wife, Anabela (who he married last October) is an adult film star. Adult Industry News reported that Janke's wife, Anabela Mota Janke, goes by the stage name Jazella Moore.
Mayor Larry Kiker said he learned last Tuesday afternoon that Janke's wife is an adult film star, and the elected officials took the action to fire him a few hours later. "At no time did we make a judgment call on the activities of Mr. Janke or his wife," Kiker told The Associated Press. "It's a matter of how effective he becomes after this situation. How much disruption there is." Councilman Tom Babcock said at a council meeting Wednesday that Janke was fired because his wife's profession brought an inaccurate image to Fort Myers Beach, according to the News-Press of Fort Myers. I am confused. The town has a strip club just minutes from City Hall. That certainly does not bring to mind an image of proprietary.
Before news of Anabela Mota Janke and her marriage to the town manager, she was a little known actress in the adult film industry. The world wide attention to her situation will now will make her a hot commodity. The “disruption” that Mayor Kiker spoke of was created by the firing of Scott Janke. If he had not been fired, there would have been no scandal. Fort Meyers Beach officials brought the wrath of the media down on themselves by themselves!
Describing herself as “a priestess of the exotic arts,” Anabela is not participating in anything criminal. Adult porn is legal. I wish I were attractive enough that men would pay to see me naked. Unfortunately, I would have to pay them to view my naked body!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


THE LAW IS GOING UP IN SMOKE Right now it could cost me more in fines to be caught smoking a cigarette in a public place than it would if I were caught smoking marijuana in unincorporated Cook County. The insane reasoning by the Cook County Board to decriminalize the smoking of marijuana is to lighten the load of an overburdened court system. I am not here to argue whether smoking marijuana should be a crime or not, I am here to argue the logic of the County Board in their decision to legalize smoking marijuana. Fact-Cook County Commission Earlean Collins had a grandson who was arrested for smoking marijuana. His car was impounded and he was held overnight in jail. A caring grandmother would talk to her grandson about how it is wrong to use illegal drugs and the consequences that can result if he gets busted. Does she do that? No! Instead she introduces an ordinance to decriminalize the very act her grandson was locked up for. Is that any way for a Grandmother to act? The reasoning of the County Board to go along with Collins was that because Sheriff Tom Dart has more important crimes to be concerned about and because the fines resulting from the marijuana misdemeanors would produce revenues for the County, then let’s decriminalize the illegal act. This is another example of fallacious reasoning of a County Board gone amok.
I agree with Mayor Daley who ridiculed the Cook County Board for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. ““People say you cannot smoke. ... They said, ‘Please don’t smoke.’ Now, everybody’s saying, ‘let’s all smoke marijuana.’ After a while, you wonder where America is going,” the mayor said.
Daley said it’s ironic that the County Board would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana at the same time that President Obama is pressuring Congress to overhaul national health care. “The issue is really clouded. It’s a health issue. We’re worried about health care for everyone and, all of the sudden, we think marijuana smoking is the best thing if someone drives down the expressway, someone’s driving a cab, someone’s driving a bus, someone’s flying a plane. After a while, where do you go?” the mayor concluded.
There are many laws that I don’t agree with, but usually changes in the law are usually arrived at after thoughtful discussions among legislators, testimony by exert witnesses and public hearings. A law should not be changed because a grandmother was upset that her grandson was busted. She should go back to baking cookies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


BELUGA-THE WHALE, NOT THE CAVIAR The Shedd Aquarium has instituted an exciting new program where visitors can get up, close and personal with a beluga whale. The “Beluga Encounter” program takes place in a new pool in the recently reopened Oceanarium facility. The 90,000-gallon, 16-foot-deep pool, named the "Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat," was built as part of a $50 million renovation project.
The rules for being able to participate in the Beluga visit are very simple as outlined in the media today—one must be at least 10 years old, at least 5 feet tall, have clean hands, be prepared to obey all the rules set forth by a senior keeper, and pay $200 ( $175 for Shedd members.) The Sun Times story quoted Ken Ramirez, the Shedd's senior vice president for animal collections. “The idea,” he said, “is to give visitors an experience that is impossible to duplicate on video or even in the wild, an educational adventure that can be life-changing and we hope inspiring, getting people to think about protecting them in the wild."“The encounters with strangers do not present much of a health risk,” he said, “because whales and humans don't share many illnesses. The biggest risk is bad behavior on the part of the human visitors, but the program plans to counter that by requiring each participant to arrive for an hour of instruction beforehand. The actual encounter with the whale lasts about half an hour, but the total session runs more two hours.”
I love whales. I desperately wish I could participate and stroke a whale’s nose, but I have a problem. According to the rules of the Shedd one must be at least five feet tall to take part in the experience. I am five feet tall on a “good day,” but some days I am a bit shorter. I called my old pal Roger Germann of the media department of the Shedd to question him about the five feet rule. I got Roger’s voice mail and left him a message. I then went to the Shedd Aquarium web site and discovered astounding information.
When the Shedd first announced this project in a press release on February 25th of this year, the height requirement listed was 55 inches! For my mathematically challenged friends, that translates to 4 feet 7 inches! Since the pool of water a visitor stands in to play with the whales is 3 feet (36 inches), the original 55 inches height requirement is tall enough not to have one’s nose under water.
According to a chart on Wikipedia, the average height of women in Peru and Mexico is 4’11.5”; in Vietnam and the Philippines it is 4’11.8” and Malaysia it is 5 feet. Would these international travelers to Chicago be denied access to the whale encounter because of their lack of height?
So while the rest of the media is fawning about the whale program at the Shedd, this investigative blogger wants to know why the height requirement was raised from 55 inches to 60 inches. Why this sudden discrimination against vertically challenged people? Why are we being denied the opportunity to interact with whales? If Walter Cronkite were still around, I know we would get answers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


PAY FOR YOUR OWN DAMNED BABY! If I want to buy a new car, I have to go through various steps. First I have to get a driver’s license which I obtain after passing a written test and a driving test that prove I have the proficiency to operate a vehicle. Then I have to carefully research the various makes and models of cars to see what I can afford. I have to visit a dealership, pick a model and prove that I have the financial ability to make the monthly payments. Everything involved with buying and driving a car is my personal responsibility. It is my decision to buy a new car and my ability to pay for the car that dictates what I do. Not so with a having a baby. There are no parenting classes a person has to attend to educate them in the care and rearing of a child and there are no requirements to prove financial responsibility before birth. What is actually the most expensive “purchase” in a person’s life can just be “driven out of the birth canal” without proof that it can be paid for. Parade magazine ran a story on the high costs of child care. Like that is a surprise to anyone! Kids are expensive and you should not have one if you cannot afford it! The story tells us how in Europe child care is seen as a right of citizenship. In Sweden, all working parents are entitled to 16 months of paid leave her child. That means an Octomom in Sweden would get more than 10 years of her salary paid by her employer and never have to show up for work! In Lithuania they are even more generous. The mother gets 2 months paid leave before the child is born, 100% of their salary for the first year and 85% of their salary for the second year. Birthing babies can be a real money making racket for mothers in those countries! One wonders why an employer in Europe would ever want to hire women of child bearing age. How can their businesses be sustained at a profit if the company is forced to pay the salaries of employees who aren’t showing up for two years at a time? Deciding to have a child is a personal decision and I do not understand why other people, companies or the government should bear the burden of the cost of the baby. Pay for your own damned baby or keep your legs crossed.

Monday, July 20, 2009


NEED OR GREED? The Sun Times cover story on Sunday was about how the occurrence of “Five Finger” discounts is growing in tough economic times. The story dealt with measures that retail operations need to take to combat thieves and shoplifting. But since the story also reported that, so far this year, “Chicago thefts are down 2.4%,” who are the real perps? I researched to find the answer.
The fact is that last year, thefts by employees of U.S. retail merchandise accounted for $15.9 billion, or 44 percent of theft losses at stores, more than shoplifting and vendor fraud combined. This figure is according to a survey released at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Loss Prevention conference in June. “While the economy plays a role in the amount of shoplifting around the country, these crimes are mostly the case of greed instead of need,” said NRF senior asset protection advisor Joe LaRocca. “People aren’t stealing to feed their families; they’re stealing iPods, handbags, and other discretionary items. "For the second year in a row, both the apprehensions and recovery dollars from shoplifters and dishonest employees increased substantially. Shoplifting apprehensions and recovery dollars were up 9.16% and 7.69% respectively.” said Mark R. Doyle, President of Jack L. Hayes International (a loss prevention and inventory control consulting firm) "The numbers of shoplifters and dishonest employees being caught stealing by U.S. retailers continues to amaze us, and this is a much greater problem than many people realize. Retail theft drives higher prices for the consumer, hurts our economy, and forces store and/or business closings." Doyle also reported that on a per case average, dishonest employees steal a little over 6 times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($808.09 vs $132.91) and one in every 28.2 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer. The numbers prove that retail theft is mostly an inside job and is more greed than need. But we as consumers are the ones paying for the thievery at the cost of higher prices so retailers can recover their losses. This seems to be very unfair. Retailers cannot control employee theft so we are punished for it? The wrong people are obviously wearing the handcuffs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


GOT A PORCH? INSPECT IT YOURSELF! People have gotten so used to the government doing everything for them like coddled children, that they oft times forget to take some personal responsibility for what is going on around them. The Chicago Tribune published a story about how since the City’s special porch task force was disbanded in 2006; there are only 43 “conservation” inspectors for the city. This team combines checks on rodent infestations, structural damage and other hazards with annual scrutiny of porches in apartment buildings taller than three stories. Since it is not possible for only 43 inspectors to scrutinize the 5,000 porches in the city; building owners and residents better start doing their own inspections. The Tribune also reported that last year that another 3,400 porch inspections were triggered by new permits issued. People quoted in the Tribune story talked about climbing porches with “rickety stairs” and “rotting planks.” Since a porch is not the only entrance and egress for a building, why would one continue to climb a porch in that condition? My guess is so the tenant can slip and then sue the building owner! If a tenant is living in a home with a bad porch they have various avenues to pursue to get the problem corrected. First they can ask the landlord to fix the porch. Second, they can call 311 and register a complaint. If that does not work, they can file with housing court. They can complain to their Alderman. They can even call the media (who loves bad stories) and have then come out and film the damaged porch. A tenant could put a sign up in the yard declaring there is a dangerous porch and maybe the landlord would be embarrassed enough to fix the porch. But people are not proactive! They would rather try to blame their problems on the city of Chicago that does not have enough porch inspectors! Citizens need to be vigilant about problems that exist in the world around them and not expect the government to magically know what is wrong! Take some personal responsibility and complain when you see something wrong. I am a master complainer, I will be happy to give lessons. You know how to reach me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


TEEN ABORTION NOTIFICATION LAW After years of legal fights, a Federal appeals court approved a long-dormant Illinois law that requires teen girls to notify their parents before having an abortion. The girls do not have to get their parent’s permission to have an abortion; they just have to tell them about it. The original parental notification law was passed in 1984 and an updated version followed in 1995. U.S. District Judge David H. Coar issued the ban on enforcement in February 2007. The latest court ruling overturns that ban. Lorie A. Chaiten of the American Civil Liberties Union, which battled to keep the law from going into effect, said the law "creates unnecessary, dangerous hurdles to accessing essential health care for young women facing an unintended pregnancy in the state of Illinois." There is a provision of the law allows girls to bypass the parental notification by notifying a judge instead, a procedure that the ACLU argued would not be workable in practice. The appeals court's three-judge panel did not agree with the ACLU argument. "We acknowledge that there might be practical problems with the procedure at issue here -- it may be intimidating for a minor to navigate the process of presenting her case to a judge, for instance," said the 35-page opinion written by Judge Richard D. Cudahy for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "But we fail to see a better alternative," it said. "Abortion, no matter how it is confronted, may present intimidating choices to the minor woman who faces it." I don’t think the law is strict enough. Abortion is an evasive medical procedure and parents have to give permission in every other instance when a minor has an operation, why should this be different? I know I sign a release form every time I am at a doctor’s visit or at the hospital and the form clearly states that a parent must sign the release in the case of a minor child. Why should abortion, an emotionally and physically debilitating procedure be exempt from parental notification? Whether a person is Pro Life or Pro Choice is not my issue here. What my issue concerns is the right of a parent to decide to allow the abortion or not. A teenager does not have the mental capability to make informed choices in most aspects of life. If the law dictates that minors cannot drink or drive; then the law should dictate that they cannot kill a baby without the permission of their parents.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


BAIID-BREATH ALCOHOL IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE A new Illinois law has made it possible for first time DUI offenders to be able to continue to drive instead of losing their licenses. About 3,600 Illinoisans accused for the first time of drunken driving are seeking to take advantage of a new law that allows them to get behind the wheel again as long as they install a device in their cars that measures their sobriety. The device costs $100 to install and $110 a month to rent and for the state to monitor. My first thought was that an offender who has a BAIID installed in their car would just have someone else blow into the device for them but The Secretary of State’s web site explains how the BAIID prevents that. “The device requires an initial blow from the offender to start the car. Following that, the device will require breath samples at random intervals throughout the offenders trip. Thus, preventing someone else from blowing into the machine to get the car started.” About 50,000 people a year are arrested statewide for drunken driving, and about 40,000 of those arrests of are first-time offenders, said Henry Haupt, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office. The Chicago Tribune quoted, Harold Wallin, a Chicago attorney who represents about 175 clients a year accused of drunken driving. Wallin said he thinks the new law helps first-time defendants resume some sort of normal life by letting them drive. But only about half of Wallin's clients, most of whom are first-timers, get the device. That means they opt to not drive for up to a year. The device is "expensive and it's embarrassing for people," Wallin said. "It's humiliating to have that device in their car." So fifty percent of Wallin’s clients find it “humiliating” to have a BAIID device? Isn’t it more humiliating and embarrassing not to be able to drive? Too expensive? While adding an expense of $110/month to someone’s budget might be tough, the offender found enough money to spend to get drunk! State Rep. Jack Franks told me,” I think it is a good law. One that I voted for. A number of years ago I tried passing a bill that would require repeat DUI offenders to have an orange license plate placed on their cars so they would be easily identifiable from a distance. The members of the legislature at the time thought it would be too stigmatizing. Too stigmatizing? We are talking about repeat DUI offenders, maybe some humiliation and embarrassment is needed to help keep them sober.” Maybe the installation of a BAIID device will cut down on drunk driving, I don’t know. I have an easier solution that is not humiliating, embarrassing or expensive—just don’t drink.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Red-light cameras raking in cash-That is great!

Red-light cameras raking in cash-That is great! The latest Tribune’s “Watchdog” series deals with whether red-light cameras are really accident preventive or if they are just an excuse to generate revenues. “When the very first red-light camera was planted in the suburbs at 25th Avenue and Harrison Street in Bellwood, it instantly became more than just a traffic control device. It became a cash machine,” the Tribune reported. That one device generates $60,000 to $70,000 a month in revenue from traffic fines for the western suburb, Bellwood Comptroller Roy McCampbell once declared as he likened the camera to "Lotto or casino type operations." "That intersection is a guaranteed amount of money," McCampbell boasted to an Illinois Municipal League seminar in a 2007 presentation that was recorded and posted on “You Tube”... It just keeps popping." A Tribune analysis found that the vast majority of red-light camera tickets are issued for failure to make a complete stop before a right turn on red -- not for blowing through an intersection. The last time I checked, it was illegal to not stop before making a right turn on red. If a policeman were stationed at the intersection, he would ticket the driver. I don’t see why it matters if the placement of a red-light camera is preventing accidents or not, it is still “catching” people breaking the law! In an interview, Comptroller McCampbell said Bellwood uses fine revenue from traffic cameras to underwrite the costs of police video surveillance equipment that watches the town of 20,000. The biggest financial contributor is the 25th and Harrison camera. Well, if Bellwood did NOT have the red light camera generating revenue for the city, then taxpayers would have to cough up the money. It is better for traffic scofflaws to be paying into the city coffers as punishment for breaking the law, than it is for law-abiding citizens. The Tribune has researched and presented to its readers many thought provoking stories with in-depth analysis of political shenanigans that has lead the Attorney General and Federal prosecutors to file lawsuits against corrupt individuals. I don’t understand the reason for the red-light camera series. If I lived in Bellwood, I would be happy that almost a $1 million/year is being generated just by one single red-light camera. If I were the Comptroller of the city, I would be boasting about it also. Why does the Tribune think this topic is deserving of a “Watchdog” series? Unless some Tribune reporter blew a red light and it made him mad when he got a camera-generated ticket, I don’t understand the man-power being wasted on the research. There is corruption waiting to be revealed—why write about red-light cameras. What am I missing here?

Friday, July 10, 2009

IT’S OKAY TO GIVE MONEY TO YOUR MISTRESS I have no problem with the fact that Senator John Ensign’s (R-Nevada) parents gave his mistress and her family $96,000. There is nothing illegal about the gift. “None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds, nor were they related to any campaign or official duties," Ensign's Dallas-based attorney, Paul Coggins, said in a statement. "Sen. Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules." Doug Hampton, husband of Ensign’s mistress Cindy had no problem taking the money that was given more than a year ago in April of 2008. His problem was that he demanded more money and was not given it. That is why he opened his mouth now. I am more disgusted with Doug Hampton than I am with Ensign for cheating on his wife. All men cheat. Whether they just “lust in their heart,” as Jimmy Carter told us in a Playboy interview years ago or physically commit the ‘dirty deed,” they cheat. There will be readers of this blog who will vehemently deny my 100% statement that all men cheat, but all men do. Trust me on this one. My numbers never lie. But not all men would accept a pay off from their wife’s lover to keep quiet about the affair. Once you become an extortionist and blackmailer, you have no right to sympathy in my book. Senator Ensign did nothing illegal. What he did is immoral and unethical, but not illegal. And not even “alleged” illegal. And since prostitution is legal in the state of Nevada, one could say the payment to his mistress’s family was for “services rendered.” We would have to ask Dennis Hof (pictured above) owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch if the payment amount was consistent with what his brothel charges. Maybe Ensign was over-charged.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


(And I don't mean the new Senator from Minnesota)
In a stunning medical breakthrough, researchers at the Northeast England Stem Cell Institute have created human sperm in a laboratory using stem cells. They claim that with some minor changes this lab-created sperm could theoretically fertilize (or fertilise as they spell it in Great Britain) an egg to create a child.
The scientists say that we are about 10 years away from a technique that could be used to allow infertile couples to have children that are genetically their own. It could even be possible to create sperm from female stem cells, they say, which would ultimately mean a woman having a baby without a man. While producing a baby without the use of a male appendage would take all the fun out of the start of the pregnancy process, it ultimately proves that women are the masters in our race, not men! A womb is still needed to “cook” the fetus until it is done.
The medical breakthrough, which is reported in the respected journal Stem Cells and Development, is the latest from the institute, which is made up of the Newcastle and Durham Universities along with the Newcastle NHS Foundation.
Stem cell biologist Professor Nayernia, said the sperm created was not perfect but had all the essential qualities for creating life. He said: "This is very amazing and very exciting. They have heads, they have tails and they move. The shape is not quite normal nor the movement, but they contain the proteins for egg activation."
Nayernia called for a debate on the subject before the science overtook the law."You can use all technology in the right way or the wrong way," he said. "This is the case in all new technology. Nuclear power can be used for electricity or the bomb for example. This should be decided not by scientists but by the law which is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to provide treatments for infertile people. The test tube babies are now routine but it was controversial at the time."
Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that the research was "totally wrong". "This is man at his maddest," she said. "I think that sometimes we have to stop meddling and accept infertility. Science must be totally ethical and totally safe – this is neither."
So we are less than a decade away from producing “Frankenpersons” ( the clever name that former Congressman Michael Patrick Flanagan has coined) where the scientists will be able to control every aspect of the genetic make up of a baby and ultimately every new baby born could theoretically be related to every other baby being born!
The family tree will become a palm tree and spell the end of the human species through the lack of genetic diversity. The industry of Designer Babies where one will be able to order a specific recipe of genetic characteristics is upon us. When one speaks of endangered species, start worrying about the human race.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


MATHEMATICAL NUMERICAL PERFECTION DAY Just past midnight on Wednesday morning July 8th we achieved mathematical numerical perfection-but only in America. In the United States, when we write a date, we put the numbers in order of the month, the day and then the year. In other parts of the world, they configure the date as day, month and year. So while at 12:34.56 a.m. on July 8, 2009, the United States celebrated the perfect time of 123456789; that won’t happen in Europe until August 7th. The countries that put the year first in figuring the date, actually achieved their perfection on September 8th, 2007 or August 9th, 2007. I know my friend Linda Shafran’s eyes are spinning and she is spitting up green pea soup like Linda Blair in The Exorcist at the thought of reading this blog about numbers. I love numbers; I love doing mathematical puzzles; I love figuring out unusual relationships between numbers; and, when treated with dignity and respect, numbers don’t lie. Digital clocks are a lot of fun for people who like numbers. I get very excited when I see the time is exactly 11:11 or 3:33. (This only occurs perfectly 10 times a day, so it is a real coup to pull off a sighting.) I wear a pedometer so I can have the fun of guessing how many steps it takes to go somewhere. When I leave my home, I always do an estimation contest with the doormen of what the measuring device will show when I arrive back. (FYI, it is exactly 1772 steps from my home to the Dick’s Last Resort on Dearborn.) I will close my eyes and try to count slowly to 60 just to check if I can time one minute exactly. I take my pulse just to see how fast or slow the beats are running and how closely they are aligned with the count of an absolute second-hand beat. I don’t want to get started on how I try to use bio feedback to manipulate the numbers on my blood pressure because then you will really think I am nuts! While most people say they don’t like math, that doesn’t mean they don’t like numbers. Our birthday is a number, anniversaries are a number, dinner time is a number; everything can be converted into a number. It is now 12:27 p.m. and I am anxiously looking at the digital clock waiting for 12:34. I am trying to time the writing of this blog to finish exactly on the mark. I know I won’t be able post it exactly on the mark, because my web site always shows a different time than what the real time is. Sorry that today’s blog is not about some esoteric subject that could create a dialogue or another trashing of a corrupt politician, but it is about a subject important to me--numbers. This blog is exactly 2682 characters with spaces. How fun! (At least to me it is!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


IF THIS IS TUESDAY, THEN IT MUST BE ANOTHER CITY HALL SCANDAL It is so much fun reading the newspapers in Chicago because every day we learn of another scandal involving a city employee. The background is very simple. James Kendrick is a city plumbing inspector earning $85,000/year. He is assigned to a task force that investigates to make sure that people have the necessary permits and licenses for doing plumbing repair work. He visits work sites and makes sure that contractors are in compliance with all city codes. So this is a man who knows all the rules and regulations. Aren’t we citizens of Chicago lucky to have such a dedicated inspector! Au contraire! On Sunday, Kendrick was working a side job installing a flood control system in a house on the 3500 block of north Octavio when he broke the water pipe leading to the home. According to the Sun Times, “Kendrick dialed 311 to report the break. When investigators arrived on the scene, he identified himself as a city inspector and asked for city-owned parts—lead packs and copper-to repair the broken pipe, sources said.” What Kendrick did not know was that one of the investigators responding to the scene was Pat McDonough. Who is McDonough? Just one of the city workers who was a whistle blower on the Hired Truck Scandal! The Sun Times story continues with McDonough saying, “He (Kendrick) told me he works for the city and knows people (in high places). He wanted me to give him all the plumbing parts. In the old days, if you wanted a guy to come out and bring you the parts for a side job, you’d call the leak desk, even if there was no leak. They’d come with the parts and you’d give the guy 30 to 50 bucks to keep his mouth shut. This time there actually was a leak. But when he said, ‘I need some lead parts and copper,’ I called the desk and told them to call the police.” It is obvious what happened next. The police showed up, Kendrick refused to show his city ID until he was threatened with arrest, a stop work order was issued and Kendrick was cited for working without a permit and the necessary city licenses.
The Sun Times said Kendrick could not be reached for comment and the Buildings Department spokesperson would only say that the department “was conducting an investigation into a report of an employee completing work without a permit.” It’s great that the City of Chicago has a LEAK DESK to report water leaks. Maybe City General Inspector David Hoffman can implement his own LEAK DESK to make it easy for city employees and citizens to report illegal activities. The leads would really flow from that faucet!

Monday, July 6, 2009


TAINTED FOR LIFE? FINE WITH ME! The National Guidelines for Sex Offender Notification Registration on the U.S. Department of Justice web site is 102 pages long. I did not read the entire document because it was too long. What compelled me to research the topic was a “bleeding heart” story in the Chicago Tribune about a new federal law that takes effect in July 2010 that will compel states to reveal the identities of many young sex offenders on a Web site for at least 25 years. The Tribune story is about Tim, a 14 year old male teen sex offender who molested an 8 year old girl. The girl reported the offense and the teen admitted to it. There is no gray area here. Tim has had a tough, traumatic life through the foster care system life, I feel sorry for him for that; but he committed a heinous crime. He was found guilty of having committed felony criminal sexual abuse and was sent to the Illinois Youth Center Kewanee, a Department of Corrections facility that specializes in treating young sex offenders. A year ago, he was transferred to the campus of Alternative Behavior Treatment Centers. "He showed focus, responsibility, a yearning for change," said his therapist, Heather Lawrence. "He has a very strong set of goals and work ethic, so he's able to come in and do what he needed to do to meet those goals." Now we are supposed to feel sorry for Tim, who has been “rehabilitated,” because he is worried that a year from now, the new federal law will require his full name, photo and address to be displayed on the Internet, just like adult sex offenders. "I want to be viewed as a good person," Tim said. "I don't want to carry that label." The Tribune tells us, “Nurturing the self-esteem of sex offenders might sound like political correctness gone mad, but University of Oklahoma psychologist Barbara Bonner, who treats such youths, said it can be a critical step to keeping them out of further trouble. "It's not that [a youth] should minimize what he did or forget that he made a serious mistake -- he did," she said. "But leaving with a negative self-image would hardly be conducive to staying away from illegal behavior." She added that ample evidence suggests treatment works for young sex offenders. She “backs up” that statement by saying that, “Various studies have found that 5 to 14 percent of those who receive counseling commit another sexual crime, she said. How is that percentage of recidivism supposed to make the public feel safe? Even if only ONE, SINGLE person repeated their sexual crime that would be enough reason to force all teen sex offenders to register. But in her own words the psychologist tells us the number is 5 to 14 percent!! The Tribune continues to try pull at our heart strings by writing, “When he does leave, (the Alternative Behavior Treatment Center) he's confident he'll do well because he's a better person than he was at 14. He tries to remind himself of that with a "self-esteem journal," in which he records the attributes others see in him: strong morals, a tender heart, even the willingness to cry. "This is a great guy," he wrote. "Remember to be good and kind to him!" The 8 year old girl he molested is scarred for life, why shouldn’t Tim carry a lifelong scar also?

Friday, July 3, 2009


A HISTORY LESSON Because a television program has proved to us that we are not smarter than a 5th Grader, we all blithely accept the fact that the 4th of July is Independence Day. For your edification, “let me splain, Lucy,” as Ricky Ricardo would say to his red-headed wife.
The legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. Congress voted for independence and then turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence. This is the date that the British Fleet and Army land in New York.
So we could argue that the 2nd of July should be declared Independence Day. John Adams even sent a letter a letter to his wife Abigail where he wrote: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Now while Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4th (which is the date printed on the Declaration), the final signing by all the delegates was on August 2, 1776. So we could argue that August 2--when the Declaration become legal—should be Independence Day.
So the 4th of July was picked as the celebratory day just because it was the date on the paperwork. But as we all know, until the paperwork is signed, it just ain’t legal! Try telling anything different to a judge.
So I will celebrate our independence from Britain on July 2nd and will celebrate the final signing of the Declaration on August 2nd. As for July 4th, to me it is just another day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A HABIT? I literally keep no real food in my house. For the few times I do eat at home, I have bag of salad and frozen Lean Cuisine entrees. Throw in a few bottles of salad dressing and some 100 calorie snack packages and you have an inventory of the entire contents of the food in my refrigerator. For liquid refreshment, my refrigerator is stocked with Diet Coke. I am a HUGE consumer of Diet Coke. I am as famous for consuming Diet Coke as I am for being a former Supermodel. Restaurants that I frequent, keep Diet Coke in the can for me on hold just in case I make an appearance at their venue. Horseshoe Casino in Hammond is a Pepsi (I even hate writing that word) house, but they stock caffeine free Diet Coke for me. When I walk into the Hilton Chicago waiters flock to my side to make sure I have a Diet Coke in my hand. (They actually did that last week at a reception for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. Waiters were falling over themselves and pushing the Senator out of the way to get me a Diet Coke. It was very gratifying!) Locally, Coca Cola—through the efforts of my friend John Rosales—has been very generous in making donations to my charitable efforts because they know what a huge fan and supporter I am of the brand. Because I consume such vast quantities of Diet Coke, I get it delivered by the on-line grocery store Peapod. Going to a grocery store to get the soda makes no sense because I am not going to be buying any food products, so why go to the trouble? I just go on my computer, click on the product picture and the next day it gets delivered to my home. It could not be easier. I had an order in at Peapod to get Diet Coke delivered tomorrow and then a friend told me that Dominick’s Grocery store had a promotion that if one bought TWO 12 packs of Diet Coke you then got THREE 12 packs for free!! That is insane!! I called John Rosales and asked him how this was possible and he said that because of the upcoming holiday, it was a loss leader and the stores were having Soda Wars in an effort to get shopper’s July 4th food dollars. He even told me that Jewel and Wal Mart were selling FIVE 12 packs for $10! Now I had to make a decision. Should I actually cancel my Peapod order and go to a grocery store? The stores probably had a limit on how many 12 packs one could buy, so I would be tricked and would not be able to not purchase sufficient quantities to satisfy my habit. I decided to take the risk and drove to the Dominick’s on Division and Larrabee. I know that the Gods were on my side when I got a parking space exactly in front of the store. I immediately elicited help from store clerk Gregory who assured me that there were no limits on how much Diet Coke I could buy and even stacked all the 12 packs in my cart for me. I bought twenty 12 packs (10 cases—about a month’s supply) but I only had to pay for eight 12 packs! I got six cases for free! In case one is wondering why I did not buy more Diet Coke if there were no limits on quantity—think freshness! Diet Coke has an expiration date just like milk or bag of salad. So now we know that a sale on Diet Coke is all it takes to change my habit of never going to a grocery store. I did not buy any food while I was there and still plan on eating dinner out tonight as I do almost every night, but I ventured out in the real world. It was scary out there, but I did it. This adventure now joins my repertoire of “real world experiences” like taking a bus ride and renewing my passport. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified,” but as Gloria Gaynor sang to us, “I can survive!”

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


ANOTHER STORY ABOUT BEING FAT! I am obsessed with my weight. We all are obsessed with our weight. Even skinny people (Who we hate, but luckily they are not a lot of them according to a new study) are obsessed with their weight. But obviously we are not obsessed enough about our fatness to actually follow through on the steps we need to take not to be fat! Adult obesity rates increased in 37 states in the past year, according to the fifth annual "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America," 2008 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The only good news about this report is that Illinois is only the 26th fattest state in the union. ( Mississippi has the highest percentage of obese people and Colorado the lowest) "America’s future depends on the health of our country. The obesity epidemic is lowering our productivity and dramatically increasing our health care costs. Our analysis shows that we're not treating the obesity epidemic with the urgency it deserves,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “Even though communities have started taking action, considering the scope of the problem, the country’s response has been severely limited. For significant change to happen, combating obesity must become a national priority.” We all know that if we ingest less calories than our bodies need to burn to function, we will lose weight. A very simple statement to write that is very difficult to implement because we all love to eat! Mayor Richard Daley is fixated on health. He created the Mayor's Fitness Council (MFC) to promote, encourage and motivate the development of a physically active and healthy lifestyle for Chicagoans of all ages. He loves bicycle riding and has done all he can to make sure that the city is as bike rider friendly as possible. The Mayor wants us to be healthy. So how does Chicago justify holding, according to Wikipedia, the world’s largest food festival? Healthy eating and the Taste of Chicago do not compute as an equation. The Taste is just an excuse for excessive eating because one could eat any of the food items served at The Taste at any restaurant any time during the year. Why does Chicago hold a 10 day festival celebrating food? Because we all want an excuse for gluttony! I have never attended The Taste. I don’t understand the mind set of people who would enjoy eating their food standing up and then visiting a porta-potty that smells like the bottom of Lake Michigan. If one wants to eat pizza ( the number one selling food item at Taste) there are at least 10,000 pizza joints one could visit. Google has 29 million hits for the combination of words of Chicago, pizza and restaurant. The Trust for America’s Health tells us that our future depends on the health of our country. How do we respond? I’ll have fries with that!