Conscience Laureate

Friday, October 30, 2009


HALLOWEEN; A SENSELESS EXCUSE TO EAT CANDY AAccording to the US Department of the Census, Halloween was first celebrated in America in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921.  Since the origin of the holiday is the Celtic festival Samhain, dating from before the birth of Christ, this is it is not an American tradition in any way.

Samhain was the feast for the Lord of the Dead.  It was celebrated on October 31st because that is the day that the spirits of dead ancestors were believed to return to earth. By 800 AD, Christianity had spread to Ireland where it had an influence on the region’s traditions. The Pope wanted to rid Ireland of pagan festivals, so the name of Samhain was changed to Eve of the Holy — hallow being holy— because Nov. 1 was All Saint’s Day. Around the year 1000, the Catholic Church declared Nov. 2 All Soul’s Day, a holiday for honoring and praying for the dead.

People wore masks because they believed all these dead souls were wondering the earth that night and they wanted to disguise themselves so the spirits would think they were part of that group. There is all sorts of other blah, blah historical info I could impart of how the begging for “soul cakes” turned into begging for candy, but I won’t bore you with more facts or disputed facts.   The bottom line is that Halloween is just a senseless excuse for children to eat candy.

Being a fat kid, I salivated and dreamed as October 31st approached.  Since I was a sneak candy eater, this holiday gave me an excuse to openly devour as much chocolate as I could.  I grew up in a suburb of New York in an era when one could still walk door to door in the neighborhood and collect as mush booty as possible with no fear of poison having been injected in your taffy apple.

Times have changed and parents can no longer allow their children to trick or treat door to door.  In Google if you type in the phrase, “Halloween Safety Tips,” you get 67 million matches.  One of the scariest and saddest tips I found was—“Make a map of your Trick-or-Treat route and check the route against the sex offender database.”
When a holiday’s commemoration includes a tip about sex offenders it’s not much of a celebration anymore.

I might sound like an old curmudgeon being so negative about a day that so many other people enjoy celebrating, but at least let us have some honesty in why we enjoy October 31st.  It has nothing to do with honoring dead souls; it’s all about the candy.  

Thursday, October 29, 2009


EXACT WORDS, JUDGE LIVAS! Associate Will County Judge Robert Livas obviously did not watch the Brady Bunch growing up or he would have remembered the episode where Greg got grounded for not following “exact words.” If he had, he would not have committed a violation of the judicial code of conduct by telling defendant Darrius Logan to return in two months with either proof that he had completed his 100 community service hours or with enough spiced chicken to feed the courtroom. So imagine his surprise when Logan carried in a tray of Uncle Joe's jerk chicken, bread and two sides of hot sauce to the courtroom. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Livas, a former prosecutor and Chicago police officer, said it was simply a joke gone awry.”A defendant took something I said as a joke literally," Livas said. "It forced me to keep my word and accept his original (community service) letter. I give him credit -- he made me eat my words.” "Last year I'm getting the judge of the year award from the Illinois State Crime Commission," he said, laughing. "And here now I'm answering questions about barbecue chicken." Defendant Logan said he spent $50 to do what the judge asked. "He told me to bring him some chicken, so that's what I had to do." Logan represented himself in the courtroom. Gerald Kinney, chief judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit, said in a prepared statement that the incident "has been referred for review to the appropriate agency." The state's judicial inquiry board, which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct, did not give a comment to the Tribune. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “exact” as “strictly and completely in accord with fact; not deviating from truth or reality.” So could the Judge argue that because what he said in his “exact words” were not reality (a Judge is not allowed to impose that kind of ruling) his statement about the chicken could not be taken at face value? An interesting argument that might get the Judge out of this pickle!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


IT IS FINALLY TIME FOR ME TO GROW UP On March 27th of this year I wrote a blog called “Jack Dreyfus Dies at 95.” It was the most personal of any blog I have written. To read again, it can be accessed by going to my blog. Go to the blog archive area, click on March and then click on the Dreyfus posting. It will help in understanding this blog, to read that one first. It is now only seven months later as I write this blog about the death of Jack’s son John at age 67 of a sudden heart attack. John was the first real love of my life, and besides my family, the last person who knew me as a young woman. Now that John has died, it is finally time for me to grow up. There are so many stories I would like to share about John and his bigger than life existence, but I have chosen one that explains John’s incredible generosity. John and I lived together on and off for 17 years from 1970-1987. For the past 22 years since then we have been friends. In fact, I was really his only friend besides the housekeepers, cooks, pilots and chauffeurs. It is very complicated when you are someone’s only friend and the pressure can sometimes be quite intense! John had many mental and physical health problems. He was bipolar and his moods swings were sometimes very difficult to handle. When he was in a manic stage, he would be just like Elvis Presley buying cars and jewelry for everyone around him. The pizza delivery girl even got a new Cadillac Escalade one afternoon. Since his credit card had a $100,000 limit there were no boundaries to his shopping once he got started. But it wasn’t all about just spending money; he was also very generous to organizations that worked with children. Before he got so ill when he needed 24 hour care and moved back to New York to live with his Father, John was living in Reno. I would fly back and forth to Reno helping take care of him. John never had to work. The family office in New York paid all the bills and John’s life in Reno consisted of his riding the treadmill, taking walks and watching movies. One afternoon in November of 2000, John and I were watching the movie, “Scent of a Woman.” There is a scene in the film where a blind Al Pacino test drives a Ferrari. John was fascinated by that segment and told me that because he was no longer capable of driving a car, he wanted to buy me a Ferrari. I did not know anything about Ferraris except that the car in the movie looked “pretty” so I said Yes. I was back in Chicago the next week and looked on-line to find where a Ferrari dealership was located. There was one in Hinsdale, so I asked my friend Joe Orlando if he would go with me to buy a car. We drove to Continental Motors late one Friday afternoon, the week before Thanksgiving, and walked into the dealership. I asked where the new Ferraris were because I only saw used ones on display. David Alexander, the salesman we encountered, gently ( holding back the laughter) explained to me that Ferrari only manufactured new models every two years and I could go on a waiting list if I wanted. It did not seem fair that I could not have a new car, but I accepted the fact. I picked an appealing blue one, an F355 Spyder convertible, and said I would like to test drive it. As we pulled out of the dealership and I felt the power of the car, I was scared. David Alexander drove us to a parking lot where I got behind the wheel. I was petrified, but I drove the car. We returned to the dealership. “I have to think about this,” I told the salesman. “Joe and I will have dinner and I will make my decision.” Joe and I drove to a nearby Italian restaurant and I called John from my cell phone. “I cannot get a new Ferrari,” I told him, “maybe I can get a Porsche instead.” The sweat was pouring down Joe’s brow as he heard those words. He couldn’t believe I was turning down a Ferrari! John told me to think about it so I returned to my food. Joe begged me to get the car, until I finally agreed to get it. We drove back to the dealership where I tried to haggle over the price, asked about snow tires and having a cell phone installed. It was very hard, once again, for the salesman not to laugh as he explained that the price was the price, Ferraris cannot be driven in the snow and no outside mechanical equipment like a cell phone could be installed. I left the dealership saying I still wanted to think about it. I got home that night, called John and we discussed the car. He told me how happy it would make him if I bought it because he could never drive a car like that and wanted to live vicariously through my driving the car. I finally told him okay, I would buy the car. Later that evening his Father called me and told me how he thought it was kind of crazy for me to get a Ferrari and instead he would buy me a Buick Park Lane and send me $100,000. Of curse, I would have preferred the $100,000 than a Ferrari, but that is not what John wanted. I phoned John and told him of his Father’s offer and said I knew John wanted me to have the Ferrari and it would be wrong for me to take $100,000 from his Father instead. Maybe it was best if I took nothing. John insisted I buy the Ferrari. The next day I called the dealership and told them I was buying the car. They should fax the paperwork to the Dreyfus office in New York and everything would be taken care of. Salesman David Alexander asked me if I were aware that the routine maintenance was very expensive. I asked how much and he said about $5,000/year over 5 years. I choked and called John who assured me he would take care of the upkeep. The Dreyfus office wired the money to the dealership and set up a $25,000 checking account for me to cover the oil changes for the next 5 years. I picked up the car two days later, the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving. The first place I drove was to the home of my friends Senator Kirk and Stephanie Dillard who lived close to the dealership. I was too afraid to drive the car in rush hour traffic. We ate dinner and then Kirk came with me as I drove the car around the neighborhood to gain confidence. I drove the car home and the next day took pictures that I over-nighted to John. While he was so happy for me to have the car, he was happier with himself for being able to give me the car. I ended up loving that car so much and felt so special every time I drove it. While it was repugnant in a way to be driving such an expensive vehicle when people were starving, I knew John give millions to aid children and I got over my guilt. John loved that I had that car. John could no longer drive himself so the fact that I could drive a Ferrari meant a lot to him. Unfortunately, I had to sell the car after by-pass surgery took veins from my leg and I could no longer handle the power of the engine. John understood why I had to give it up and did not want the money from the sale when I offered it to him. I did all I could to try to help keep John happy in his last years with my friendship and love. I have no regrets that I could have done anything more. Because of him I have gotten to live a life that most people could only dream of and most likely could never even imagine. “Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet Prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Monday, October 26, 2009


REAL OR HOAX? Every day we receive forwarded chain e-mails with outrageous claims ranging from how information about the Holocaust has been removed from educational curriculum in Great Britain to the latest one about the White House sending out a letter that there would not be a Christmas tree this year but it would be called a holiday tree. I don’t understand why people forward these e-mails without checking their validity. It is very easy to type a few words of the e-mail into Google and see the results on ww.hoaxbuster.com or www.snopes.com. Rush Limbaugh got tricked last week when he quoted a fictitious blog article that claimed that President Obama had criticized the Constitution, the Founding Fathers and the country’s distribution of wealth in a college thesis titled, “Aristocracy Reborn.” “While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned," read the fake report on Obama's Columbia University thesis, referring to the Constitution. "While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy." Later in his broadcast program, Limbaugh learned the report was erroneous and told his listeners of his mistake Blogger Michael Leeden had posted the original story on his web site. “The hoax/satire was written in August, so it’s not connected to any current event. I came across it on Twitter, read the blog, found it interesting, and posted on it. I failed to notice that one of the tags was 'satire,'" Leeden wrote in his own defense. Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone, believed, “It may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears.” Which of the two following stories do you think is real and which is fake? Send me an e-mail at Kathy@kathyposner.com with your vote. GIANT ALIEN SNAKES
“According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), nine species of giant snakes alien to North America could become established in the wild and wreak havoc on the ecosystem. National Geographic reports that these snakes can grow longer than 20 feet and weigh over 200 pounds. The slithering giants would be capable of surviving in the wild, and since they breed quickly and lack native predators, they could quickly cause trouble in U.S. ecosystems.
Some of these snakes have already infiltrated Florida, and the Burmese python could potentially spread to the entire lower third of the U.S. While some of the snakes in question have been known to kill people, the real risk is to ecosystems, which have no defense against the alien invaders.” NAKED IN HIS OWN HOME According to a story from WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., “A Virginia man was busted for indecent exposure after he was caught in the buff. In his own home. Alone. Eric Williamson, 29, got up at 5:30 a.m. Monday and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. He was naked, but he was alone in the Springfield house, so he didn't think it mattered. Wrong. A woman and a 7-year-old boy were cutting through Williamson's front yard from a nearby path. Through his front window, they saw Williamson having coffee in his birthday suit. Fairfax County police showed up and arrested him. Williamson said he had no idea anyone could see him, but police said they believed he wanted to be seen by the public. If convicted, Williamson could face one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. He plans to fight the charge. "If I stood and seemed comfortable in my kitchen, it's natural. It's my kitchen," he told the station. “

Sunday, October 25, 2009


JORDAN RULES REDUX I do not read the sports pages of the papers simply because I do not care what is happening in a world I am not a part of. But when I was throwing away the Tribune sports section the other day a headline caught my eye, “Jordan Shoe Flap Causing a Stink.” The story sounded intriguing, so I read it. The readers of this blog who know the background can skip this paragraph! Others should read on. Marcus Jordan, son of former Bull Michael Jordan, is a freshman basketball player attending the University of Central Florida (I had never heard of UCF but it happens to be a part of the nation's third-largest university system. With 12 colleges located in Orlando, Florida, it serves more than 53000 students. The tuition is only $3800/year, so how good can it be! And Marcus is an athletic scholarship student! But I digress.) UCF has a $1.9 million contract with Adidas that requires all athletes to be dressed in their logoed athletic wear. Marcus will only wear shoes from the Jordan brand of Nike. UCF told Marcus when they recruited him they he could wear his father’s shoe brand. Adidas says he has to wear only their shoes. Marcus refuses to wear Adidas shoes. At jeopardy now is the extension of the Adidas contract which is worth $3 million to UCF. Marcus’s father Michael, while unquestionably one of the greatest basketball players ever, has an ego bigger than even Oprah’s and mine. He fortified that reputation again during his grandiloquent and pompous Hall of Fame induction speech last month when he said, "There is no 'I' in team but there is in win." So how does this problem get solved? The coach of the CFU basketball team has to wave adieu at Marcus as he walks off campus wearing his Jordan sneakers. The coach of a team has to be a czar and a ukase from his lips is an edict that must be obeyed. If the coach folds here, he loses his creditability with all of his athletes. There should be only be one Jordan who is allowed to live his life under the Jordan rules; and it should not be 18 year old Marcus.

Friday, October 23, 2009


WHAT ASSETS COULD THE CITY SELL? In the Mayor’s preliminary 2010 budget he raids the $320 million “rainy day fund” of $267.7 million. This fund was created from the sale of the lease for the privatization of Chicago parking meters. When the City sells assets like future revenue from parking meters or tolls from the Skyway, we can never recover the economic opportunity lost of all those quarters being paid to an outside stakeholder. The city needs to sell public assets that do NOT cost us potential revenue by their sale. By that I mean we should sell naming rights to buildings, streets and departments that have their names in the news a lot. The resultant publicity and advertising would be a benefit to the company that bought the name. For instance, the name of the seat of Chicago government on La Salle Street could be bought by a well known greeting card organization and be re-named City Hallmark Cards. Wacker Drive is named after Charles H. Wacker. Chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, Wacker endosed the Burnham Plan in 1909 to unify the city's urban design and increase its physical beautification. So when the roadway was completed in 1926, they named it after him. Besides his family and some historians, who cares what the double-decker roadway is called? I found two billion dollar companies that might be interested: Wacker Chemie AG and Wacker Neuson, a global manufacturer of high-quality light equipment and compact construction machines. If Willis the insurance company paid to change the name of Sears Tower, maybe one these “Wacker” companies would pay to have the street name amended. Another possible source of revenue is to charge businesses a “licensing fee” if they use the word Chicago in the name of their company. Oprah does not allow people to use her name without permission, why should the City of Chicago allow it? If a for-profit business wants to proclaim that they are in Chicago it should cost them. I have a friend named Cindy Park. If she could collect enough money maybe she could get the Chicago Park District’s name changed to the Cindy Park District. She’s an attorney at Drinker, Biddle. It sure would give her great name recognition in rainmaking! Everything is for sale. We all have a price that just needs to be determined at a particular moment in time. Posner Pier sounds good; I wonder if $1,000 cash would do?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"THERE ARE NO ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES" My friend Jason Baumann saw a new billboard in The Loop with the message, “Are you good without God? Millions are.” and e-mailed me his feelings about it. My thoughts will follow.
“I saw this billboard as I drove to work this morning down LaSalle Street. I thought about it several times through the day and I had two, distinct views. First, my strong Catholic upbringing hit me with thoughts like “How could they print that?” But then I got two blocks further down the road, and my American upbringing hit me. I was proud to be an American (not to sound too corny).
As a relatively young American, I was raised with tolerance – something that doesn't always exist in other countries. While I found the message of the billboard to theologically repulsive to my belief system, it really didn't bother me that much because I believe that anyone should have the right to believe and speak what they please. Imagine if that billboard was erected in the Middle East! The Koran teaches that non-believers should be converted and if they did not want to be converted, they should be fought until they did convert or were dead. If you didn't know what a “jihad” was, you would know then!
As a 21st-Century Catholic American, I wish the members of the Chicago Coalition for Reason well. I hope that they find a deeper meaning in their life. The meaning may be called God, Jesus, Allah, or something else but that deeper meaning is what brings me peace at night. “
I also had a number of thoughts after receiving Jason’s e-mail. My first thought was that I was immediately changing the subject I had originally planned for my blog because this topic was so instantly compelling that I could not ignore it. I knew I had to share Jason’s important words with others.
My second thought was of pride for the eloquent way that my dear friend Jason expressed his position and my third was sadness that he felt he had to defend his pride in being an American as “too corny.”
A 2005 survey published in Encyclopedia Britannica found that atheists comprise about 2.3% of the world’s population. It is because we live in America that a billboard printed with this type of sentiment is allowed. In how many other countries would the views of only 2.3% of the population be allowed to be expressed?
So while the Chicago Coalition for Reason might want to express their belief in nothing on a billboard, it is because they live in America that they have the right to believe in nothing. They should at least believe in that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


VANITY PLATES Blaise Pascal, a French scientist and philosopher who lived in the 1600’s, said “Vanity is so secure in the heart of man that everyone wants to be admired: even I who write this, and you who read this.” The fact that I expect people to take time from their day to read what I have to say is narcissism at its highest level. Scottie Robinson, a car owner in Birmingham has accumulated $19,000 in traffic tickets because his license plate is XXX-XXXX. In Alabama, when a parking patrol officer cannot identify a license plate they write XXX-XXXX on the ticket. Robinson, whose nickname is “Racer X,” said the mix-up has caused him to amass up to 10 tickets a day but he still wants to keep his plate. This man has chosen to continually fight City Hall rather than change the configuration of letters on his license plate! The lengths we go to in the name of self-absorption are sometimes astonishing. In 2007, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and Stefan Lonce, author of License to Roam: Vanity License Plates and the Stories They Tell, conducted North America's first state by state of vanity plates, revealing that there are 9.7 million vehicles "vanitized" with personalized vanity license plates.
The survey ranked jurisdictions by "vanity plate penetration rate", which is the percentage of registered motor vehicles that are vanitized. Illinois (13.41%) comes in third after Virginia , which has the highest U.S. vanity plate penetration rate (16.19%) and then followed by New Hampshire (13.99%). Texas had the lowest vanity plate penetration rate (.56%). Texans might wear big hats, but they obviously don’t have big egos.
All U.S. states that issue vanity plates have a "blue list" of plates that contains banned words, phrases, or letter/number combinations.The "blue list" is not definitive; in general, the agent processing an application for a vanity plate can reject a plate if it is deemed offensive, even if the phrase does not match a banned word exactly. Sometimes an innocent person like the vegetarian in Colorado whose request for the plate "ILVTOFU" (meaning "I Love Tofu") was denied for fear it would be misread as "I-LV-TO-FU.
Why are vanity plates so important to us? I have a huge ego; so my car has KRP on the plate. When I had a Ferrari I was going to auction off the letters on my plate figuring it would be like a motorized billboard because everybody looks at a hot sports car. Nobody bit even after a story ran about it in Crain’s. So I just used the initials of my old company COMM2 figuring I would take the advertisement myself.
Most people will not admit that they are arrogant and self-centered, but I am sure that even Mother Teresa enjoyed publicity if it helped her raise money for her cause. “There are no grades of vanity; there are only grades of ability in concealing it.” ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


THIRTY TWO NEW PLANETS DISCOVERED The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times both had small two or three line stories that 32 new planets have been discovered. It seemed to me that the detection of new planets outside of our solar system should rate more coverage than a mere passing mention. The existence of these exoplanets -- planets outside our solar system -- was announced at the European Southern Observatory/Center for Astrophysics, University of Porto conference in Porto, Portugal, according to a statement issued by the Observatory. The planets were discovered by a the use of an instrument known as HARPS- High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher. The device can detect slight wobbles of stars as they respond to tugs from exoplanets' gravity. That tactic, known as the radial velocity method, "has been the most prolific method in the search for exoplanets," according to the European Southern Observatory statement. HARPS is a unique, extremely high precision instrument that [is] ideal for discovering alien worlds," Stephane Udry of Geneva University, who made the announcement on behalf of the international consortium that built the instrument, said in the observatory statement. "We are on the road," Udry told CNN in a phone call from Portugal. "The end of the road is finding life and other planets like our own, but we have to go step by step."
Udry’s statement really gave me pause. He used the words, “alien worlds” and “life and other planets like our own.” Those were simple words that I could understand and they were scary! As Winnie the Pooh said in Life’s Little Instruction book, “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long difficult words, but rather short, easy words like, “What about lunch?
Can you imagine the furor if the statement from the European Southern Observatory/Center for Astrophysics has been headlined, “Alien Worlds Discovered!” or “Life on other Planets Possible!” Scientists just don't know how to spin a story. They released the story at a web-based news conference with pictures of boring hunks of space matter instead of in front of 1,000 TV cameras. The balloon boy story had more coverage and it was a hoax!
As Winnie the Pooh also said, “You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Scientists shouldn't have been announcing to scientists; they should have been announcing to Larry King!

Monday, October 19, 2009


CROSS DRESSING BAN Morehouse College, an all-male school in Atlanta Georgia, has instituted an “Appropriate Attire Policy.” This policy bans the wearing of women’s clothing, make-up, high heels, purses, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus. Those breaking the policy will not be allowed to go to class unless they change and chronic offenders could be suspended from the college. The policy was instituted because of a small group of male students who, according to Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services,“are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men.” Before the school released the policy, Bynum said, he met with Morehouse Safe Space, the campus' gay organization. "We talked about it and then they took a vote," he said. "Of the 27 people in the room, only three were against it." Bynum said the policy comes from the vision of the college's president, who wants the institution to create leaders like notable graduates Martin Luther King Jr., actor Samuel Jackson and film director Spike Lee. The fifth book of the Bible, Deuteronomy, has a section of chapters that explain various laws, admonitions and injunctions on how people should conduct themselves. Cross dressing is one of the banned activities. One might then believe if the activity is banned in the Bible, a revered college like Morehouse would want to respect that ban--until one looks at some of the other prohibitions:
--The death penalty is prescribed for males who are guilty of any of the following: disobeying their parents, profligacy and drunkenness.
--Exemptions from military service for the newly betrothed, newly married, owners of new houses, planters of new vineyards, and anyone afraid of fighting.
--An order for parents to take a stubborn and rebellious son before the town elders to be stoned.
--The procedure to be followed if a man suspects that his new wife is not a virgin: if the wife's parents are able to prove that she was indeed a virgin then the man is fined; otherwise the wife is stoned to death.
--Prohibition against wives making a groin attack on their husband's adversary.
Since our society currently does not follow those prohibitions, why should we be against cross-dressing? Women wear pants; so a man should be able to wear a dress in public if he so pleases. Just ask Flip Wilson or Milton Berle.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


HOME IS WHERE THE TENT IS Web Master Jason alerted me to a story about a homeless man in Naperville and I decided to do some research. Scott Huber has been dispossessed since February 1999 when he was evicted from his Naperville home. He said the eviction occurred after Ameritech demanded he pay in excess of $1,000 for services provided. He now lives in a tent-like structure that he has occupied for the past 8 years at 75 E. Chicago Avenue. He moved to Naperville in 1989 to expand his electronic business which already had a location in Lemont. At that time, Huber said that local government officials, police officers and judiciaries "railroaded" him and purposely quashed his chances at growing his electronics business, A and A Electronics and Televisions. He said his business is currently "frozen" because of a lack of income and communication resources. Huber ran for as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Naperville last April. Obviously, he did not win. Last week, the Naperville City Council voted 6-1 vote to ban sleeping, camping and storing personal property on streets and sidewalks in the city's downtown area. Huber says the ordinance is directed solely against him. His tented area includes a large umbrella, a rickshaw, a generator and a laptop computer from which he blogs. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7506162@N08/2370191842/)
The Chicago Tribune reported that Huber said, "My feeling is that if there is an eviction to be had, I'd like the U.S. marshals to intercede." Huber calls the location a “protest site” and says the U.S. Constitution protects his right to air his grievances in public for as long as he likes.
The new ordinance allows Naperville to ticket violators on a daily basis, with fines starting at $50 and rising to $100 for the third offense within a 12-month period. If violators do not clear all personal property from the right-of-way within seven days of a ticket, the city can remove it and hold it for up to 30 days. Violators cannot be jailed.
Huber believes the dispute belongs in federal court and that the ordinance should apply only to those who are not engaged in either a protest, as he claims he is, or a strike.
The Tribune also reported that Councilman Robert Fieseler was the lone vote against the ordinance, calling it "an example of overreaching, of over aggression," and suggested that existing laws were sufficient.
Fieseler pointed out that Huber or any other protester or homeless person still can easily set up camp outside the downtown, including just outside a park at Franklin Avenue and Loomis Street."Don't get the impression that I'm in favor of camping, because I am not," Fieseler said. "If we have (constitutional) concerns, we should err on the side of caution and not pass new laws that have the potential to be struck down."
Councilman James Boyajian pledged to expand the boundaries of the area banning camping and sleeping, if need be. "To the extent that a problem develops, we're going to pass another ordinance," he said. "If we have to fight this problem block by block, that's what we're going to do. The communications I've gotten (from residents) are probably 50-to-1 to step up and do something about this." "In general, we really don't support local laws that criminalize homelessness, because we don't think that that is a productive solution to the problem," said Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Julie Dworkin. "It tends to make the problem worse. People get arrested multiple times and ultimately can end up with a criminal record. While I agree that a criminal record is potentially injurious to a homeless person, if the violation of a law does not have penalties, than there would be no reason for anyone to follow it. Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) whose only surviving work, the "Natural History," has been called one of the most influential books ever written in Latin is the originator of the quote, “Home is where the heart is.” He also is cited for the passage,” In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.” Well, in Huber’s case it is certain he will be “de-tented” and will need to find another place to live. His ultimate fate though will be superior to that of Pliny’s who died while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


WHERE DOES THE IRS STAND ON THIS? Earlier this week a group of about 100 African-American ministers gave Cook County Board President Todd Stroger their endorsement in the Democratic primary for Board President, saying black voters must stay "united" or risk losing the government seats they hold. Stroger said that the ministers, including Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, will help tell their congregations the truth about what a great job he has done as board president.
One of the ministers in the crowd, Bishop John Richard Bryant said of the endorsement, "It's about the people in this city who need quality leadership." "Quality! Quality!" shouted a minister in the audience at Quinn AME Chapel. "You da man!" Rev. Joanne Long said hugging Stroger. That prompted chants of "You da man! You da man!" "We stand with him as we stood with his father, John Stroger. We stood with that giant as we are now standing with his son," Bishop Cody Marshall said.
Astute Blog follower Jill asked me how it was possible for religious leaders to endorse someone for political office. Aren't not-for-profits supposed to be non-partisan? I decided to do some research. The following two paragraphs are taken verbatim from the IRS tax guide for churches and religious organizations.
Under the Internal revenue code, all IRC section 501©3 organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of ( or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. The political campaign activity prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of churches or religious organizations speaking for themselves as individuals. However for their organizations to remain tax exempt under IRC section 501(c) 3, religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions.” So while a religious leader may make a personal decision about who he wants to vote for, he is prohibited from speaking from the pulpit about a candidate’s political campaign. This event was held in the chapel of a church. The ministers spoke about sharing their feelings with their congregations. How are the ministers able to get away with this blatant disregard for the law? Where is the mainstream media in calling the ministers to task? Why haven't the other candidates spoken up against these endorsements? How come the IRS has not gotten involved and rescinded the tax-exempt status of these churches? Why are people fearful to take action against such barefaced illegal activity? I am just a modest person and an inconsequential blogger. But I hope through the power of the Internet my questions about this will cause those with influence and muscle to do something. Someone needs to act; I am just not a significant enough actress for my distress to be of consequence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


SENIORS AS FREDDIE THE FREELOADERS Mayor Daley and I are in complete agreement when it applies to the subject of free rides for senior citizens on the CTA system. According to the Chicago Sun Times, “To avoid "very ugly" fare hikes and service cuts on the CTA, Mayor Daley said the state Legislature needs to consider taking back free rides for senior citizens. “They have to revisit everything,” Daley said. “And that is one of 'em they have to revisit. Definitely. “It is estimated that the freeload rides cost the CTA $60 million/year. The CTA budget unveiled this week calls for the regular bus fare to increase by 25-cents—to $2.50—while fares for express bus and rail service goes from $2.25 to $3. Roughly 110 of the CTA's 150 bus routes would get longer waiting times, while operating hours would be reduced on 41 bus routes. Nine express bus routes would be cut.
On March 17, 2008, senior citizens started their gratis ride program on the CTA system. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich used his amendatory veto power earlier in 2008 year to demand that senior citizens across the state get free rides on their local mass transit in exchange for his approval of a sales-tax increase to fund mass transit. As State Rep. Jack Franks ( D-Marengo) told me this morning, “ I voted against both bills that contained legislation to provide seniors with free rides. It was government by press release for Blagojevich when he used his veto power to institute the program.”
Franks is not against helping people with lower income to get a break in mass transit costs. “I think the program should be means tested for income. If someone qualifies for the state’s Circuit Breaker program which provides grants to senior citizens and persons with disabilities to help them reduce the impact of taxes and prescription medications on their lives, we could qualify them for reduced or free fares,” he continued. “People on unemployment who are seeking a job could get a break also,” he concluded.
Freddie the Freeloader was a beloved Red Skelton character. (I am showing my age here! My young readers will have to Google Red Skelton to find out who I am referring to.) Skelton was quoted as saying, “Well, I guess you might say that Freddie the Freeloader is a little bit of you, and a little bit of me, a little bit of all of us, you know.”
We all like to receive complimentary things. I have been heard to say, “Free food tastes better.” And it definitely does. But when I get a freeload meal, I have usually done something beforehand to actually earn it. Just because one turns 65 years of age does not mean they should be entitled to free CTA fares for the rest of their days. They did nothing to earn it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


On July 16, 2003, Dr.Richard Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, warned us about an "obesity epidemic.” In his testimony before the Subcommittee on Education Reform Committee on Education and the Workforce of the U.S. House, Carmona said there were three key factors to address the problem and they were increased physical activity, healthier eating habits and improved health literacy. He also spoke how “super-sized meals were leading to a nation of oversized people.”
Since then, more than thirty U.S. cities and states, including the nation's most populous city (New York) and state (California), have introduced legislation to mandate menu labeling. At the federal level, consensus around a labeling bill is in the Senate. This bill has been rolled into the larger set of bills addressing health reform, is very similar to the NYC legislation.
So what are the results in New York City since calories have been listed on the menus? A recent study showed that diners at fast food outlets in NYC purchased a mean number of 825 calories before menu labeling was introduced and 846 calories after labeling was introduced. The amounts of saturated fat, sodium or sugar purchased did not change either after labels were posted. This seems to make no sense until one analyzes people’s thinking about the value of food.
Psychologically people make their food purchase decisions based on taste, cost, convenience, health and variety. If one can purchase a salad that has 100 calories and it costs $3 or one can purchase a hamburger with 500 calories for $3, it is perceived that the hamburger is a better value because one is getting “more for the money!” To people who don't have a lot of cash, it may seem like getting the 100 calorie salad would be throwing money away.
Americans eat about a third of their calories at restaurants, according to Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. I wonder if diners eat more calories after they have seen posted totals, what is the solution?
My solution is to leave us alone! The fundamental purpose of government is the maintenance of basic security and public order, not to be the fat police. Posting calorie content in restaurants has not made any difference in the food people order. Let me die with brownie crumbs on my smiling lips. I would rather live to be 80 years and be fat and happy, than 90 years and be scrawny.

Monday, October 12, 2009


RUNNING IN A MARATHON? I JUST DON’T GET IT. Chicago held its annual marathon this past weekend. An event that caused miles of street closures, bus lane changes and inconvenienced more people than those who participated. Reminiscent of Oprah shutting down Michigan Avenue but one thousand times worse! The derivation of the word “marathon” as a race comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is claimed that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming ”We have won” before collapsing and dying. It was not until May 1921 that the International Amateur Athletic Federation set the standard distance at 26 miles 385 yards. I just don't understand why people want to participate in an event that was created because somebody died from the effort of doing the exact same thing!
According to Men’s Health magazine, researchers have identified a number of physical effects of running a marathon, including changes in immune system and kidney function. Dr. Siege, Arthur Siege, M.D., director of internal medicine at Harvard's McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, says , “The brunt of the damage falls exactly where you'd expect: on your muscles. As the miles pass, skeletal muscles stiffen and leak injury-signaling enzymes into the blood.”
He continues, "Your body doesn't know whether you've run a marathon... or been hit by a truck. This is why, as you go deeper into the race, your body reacts to injury by mounting an emergency-repair response. Your adrenal glands and brain produce the stress hormones cortisol and vasopressin; your damaged muscles churn out proteins called cytokines, which trigger your liver to start producing C-reactive protein.” A 2006 Circulation study, led by Dr. Wood, Malissa Wood, M.D., studied ultrasounds and blood tests of 60 marathon finishers. The researchers found that after the race, some runners' hearts experienced difficulty refilling chambers. The researchers also noticed abnormalities in how blood was pumped from the right side of the heart to the lungs.
Blisters on the feet and toes become painful after the race is over. Some runners may experience toenails which turn black and subsequently detach from the toe. This is from the toenails being too long (or the shoes being too tight) and repeatedly impacting on the front of the shoe.
I have friends who run in Marathons and get sponsored per mile to raise money for charity. Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s (“The Running Reverend”) efforts have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being contributed to The Chicago Legal Clinic’s Endowment Fund. I sit on the Board of The Clinic and know how important those funds are; but is it worth risking one’s life and health to be able to say you finished the race? James Fixx was the author of the 1977 best-selling book, The Complete Book of Running, that is credited with helping start America's fitness revolution; popularizing the sport of running and demonstrating the health benefits of regular jogging. He died at the age of 52 of a heart attack just after his regular daily run. While I “just don’t get it”, Fixx got it and it killed him.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


READ MY PINS In 1997, Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. While serving under President Bill Clinton, first as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and then as Secretary of State, Albright became known for wearing brooches that decisively conveyed her observations about the situation at hand. At a reception at the St. John Boutique in Chicago last week, Albright told a small, select crowd, "I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying 'Read my lips,' I began urging colleagues and reporters to 'Read my pins.'" Albright was visiting Chicago while on a book tour explaining the meaning behind many of the pins in her newly published book, “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box.” Two hundred of her favorite pins are now on display at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York through January and then the exhibition will travel to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. The exhibition will then be on view in Washington, DC in the summer of 2010 and Indianapolis, Indiana in the fall of 2010 She said her journey to use jewelry as an arm of international and cultural diplomacy began with Saddam Hussein. As ambassador to the United Nations in 1994, she pressed Mr. Hussein to allow weapons inspections, causing an Iraqi newspaper to label her "an unparalleled serpent." After a meeting on Iraq, journalists" saw Ms. Albright sporting a menacing gold snake pin. When asked why, she answered, "Because Saddam Hussein called me a serpent." She told us that she chose to wear a bee pin whenever she felt talks amounted to "something like a sting.” Her collection is diverse ranging from a series of pins dealing with Americana-- including flags and eagles-- to ones with flora, fauna and insect themes. She always brought a selection with her when she traveled so she could be ready for any situation.
My sister is a State Department Diplomat, so it was thrilling for me to be able to talk with Madam Secretary about the two occasions when my sister had personally worked with her in Rome and Budapest. I also told her how my sister had been part of the United Sates team during the independence of Kosovo from Serbia last year. Albright said that her work on Kosovo independence while she was Secretary of State was among her proudest accomplishments and how many young girls in the country are now named Madeline after her. Two years ago I had the opportunity to meet then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and brag about my sister’s work. Last week I had the same opportunity with Madeline Albright. So while my life might be spent putting out fires at the Mancow Show, (see Blog of October 9th), my sister is the one bringing pride to the family with her international diplomatic work. I should give my sister the $250 gift card we received as a present from St. John after the event because she is the one that deserves it. But I already spent it!

Friday, October 9, 2009


MANCOW AND HORSESHOE CASINO People ask me what a day is like in my life. What do I do? I thought I would share what I did today. Background first—Mancow does a segment on his radio show called Mancow Food Friday. Chefs from area restaurants come in to the studio and showcase the cuisine from their establishments. Because I am a perennial diner, I have lots of restaurants to suggest for the segment and Mancow allows me the opportunity to showcase my favorites on his show. The restaurants that appear bring platters of cooked food, paper plates and plastic forks. Mancow interviews them at some point during the morning. The guests this week was Chef Tom Spoor of Binyon’s Steakhouse at Horseshoe Casino. Chef Tom wanted to make sure that Horseshoe and Binyon's were best represented by having freshly cooked food. I checked beforehand with Mancow's producer, Daniel French, and was told that there was plenty of electricity and it was okay for Chef Tom to cook in the room next to the studio. I meet Chef Tom and his crew in front of the WLS studio at 8:30 where they unloaded massive amounts of equipment and food. BAM! We get yelled at that we had not gone to the loading dock, but they let us in the front door anyway when I pled stupidity. We carry all the food, stove, burners etc through the office hallways of WLS and set up in the green room. Chef Tom's crew unload everything and set up their burners and stove. They start the preparation of their cuisine and BAM! the electricity blows from an overload!! Mancow comes flying out of the studio to see why he had lost power and laughed!! We were able to run cords from other outlets and the cooking continued. The aroma from the pork bellies sizzling wafts throughout the hallways, the smoke from searing the scallops and shrimp start building up and BAM!! the Fire Marshall for the building shows up to yell at us! "This is not a kitchen! You cannot cook here." Mancow comes out of the studio and does a great act saying he is sorry and the cooking will stop. (Of course he is winking at us to let us know not to stop the cooking!) Chef Tom pretends to stop cooking. The Fire Marshall leaves, and we start cooking again. When Mancow is on the air he keeps plugging how Binyons is in the house and how delicious the food smells. Everything is proceeding nicely when BAM!!, building management comes in and tells us that the smells are running throughout the whole venting system and we have to stop cooking. Again, we pretend to stop. Again, Mancow comes out to apologize. Luckily for us, Dr. Gadget was in the studio so he has his people set up one of the air purifiers that they were going to give away on the air for a promotion. (some listener got screwed out of an air purifier that was never given away!) We start cooking again knowing the purifier should suck up the smells and BAM!! the General Manager of the station shows up! Now we really have to stop cooking. By then Chef Tom had completed everything but the steak, so we had plenty of food prepared. Chef Tom set up a wonderful array of food in a conference area and creates the most beautiful buffet. I take a plate of pork bellies into Mancow and he eats it on the air. Tia Carrera (Wayne's World) stops by so Chef Tom has a great time entertaining her and inviting her out to the casino. I was surprised by how much food she ate!! But then Chef Tom's food is delicious and once you start, you cannot stop! The schedule of guests got backed up because of President Obama's live press conference, so Chef Tom does not get on the air until about 10: 45 a.m. We have been there for more than 2 hours already! Chef Tom and I go into the studio and he and Mancow and Pat Cassidy talk about the casino and the restaurant. Mancow also tells the listening audience how casino employee Teresa Krasinksi is wonderful and how he likes to flirt with her when he is at Horseshoe. The show ends and Mancow comes out of the studio, eats more food and thanks everybody. I got him to pose for a picture with Chef Tom. We pack everything up and Chef Tom leaves by way of the loading dock following the correct procedure for exiting. Will what I do in my day to day life ever result in my winning the Nobel Peace Prize? No. But I do know that I try to bring a little happiness to the people in my life every day and that is an award in itself.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The Illinois Film Office (IFO) run by Betsy Steinberg is a model of efficiency. In her letter on the opening web page (http://www.illinoisfilm.biz) she writes that Illinois provides an “aggressive 30% film tax credit and with experts on locations, housing, and tax incentives, casting and crew hotlines, the IFO is here to help make your creative vision a reality.” The services that the IFO provides to film makers are very comprehensive. If the IFO is not enough, Chicago also has a film office The Chicago Film Office web site (http://www.chicagofilmoffice.us/) tells us that it “leads the city’s effort to attract and make possible the production of movies, television series, commercials and all forms of visual media. For filmmakers, we’re a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs. Permits, city services, trouble-shooting logistics and technical support are all made possible through our office’s hands-on assistance.” One would think that through the efforts of these two offices, a film maker would be able to find all the resources and help they need to shoot in Illinois. But Cook County Board President, Todd Stroger, has decided that another layer of bureaucracy is needed and the formation of a Cook County Film Commission (CCFC) is expected to be voted into law by the Cook County Board of Commissioners by mid-November, and will be open for business Jan. 1, 2010. I learned about the formation of this new commission from the web site www.reelchicago.com, a film and video industry resource published by Ruth Ratney. One wonders why there have been no stories about this in local media. The site tells us, “At present, film producers say trying to obtain cooperation amid the county’s myriad offices is difficult and frustrating. High $75 an hour permit fees, miles of red tape in getting to the right person and office, have discouraged and shrunk the use of remarkable locations within the county’s 189 municipalities and 67,000 acres of pristine forest preserves -- all a potential source of new county revenue if done right.”
Ratney also writes that, “Of the seven Stroger-picked commissioners, three will come from the film side and four from the county: Two will be union/guild members or employees and the third will come from a motion picture studio, according to the proposed ordinance.
Three of the four commissioners representing the county’s interests are in place. They are the superintendent of the Forest Preserve District, the Cook County Sheriff and the president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. The fourth, a representative of a suburban Cook County municipality would be appointed. The commission would meet quarterly to present their incentive recommendations and action reports to the film commissioner.
Unknown at this time are the number of proposed office employees, salaries and operating budgets, although it’s said the County Board would do some budget juggling from other departments to fund the new commission” A government source, who asked not to be identified, hit the nail right on the head when they said,” Why doesn't Cook County just work with the Illinois Film Office as every other County in Illinois does? Starting their own film commission will cost money and not bring in commensurate funds.....use what already exists....the Illinois Film Office does a great job at selling EVERYTHING in the state including unincorporated Cook County.” The part that I find most interesting is that the County Board would do “budget juggling” to find the money to fund the CCFC. If there is money to “juggle” and take from other departments, than the budget is bloated to start with! The Cook County Board is responsible for operating the court system, jail, maintaining 68,000 acres of forest preserves, and acting as a healthcare safety net through the operation of four hospitals and 30 clinics. Why did they decide to go into the movie business? With all the scrutiny that organizations like the Better Government Association having doing into the machinations of the Board one would not think that President Stroger would be saying, “All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


TEXTING FOR DUMMIES Yesterday I embarrassed myself in an e-mail exchange, when I thought the writer, Chef Tom from Horseshoe Casino, was using an acronym when in response to my telling him he needed to bring extra food to the Mancow Show, he wrote, “As long as I get to me TIA.” Not being much of a texter, I had no idea what that meant. I responded admitting to my stupidity; but it turns out he was referring to upcoming show guest TIA Carrera. (Wayne’s World) “Excellent!” I thought. This morning when I read a story about the Wisconsin Tourism Federation (WTF) changing their name to the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin (TFW) after being lampooned on web sites for the crude meaning of the contraction of their name; I again was clueless. Lead lobbyist for the group, Chet Gerlach, said that the federation made the change after the meaning of the common text message lingo was brought to their attention. DQMOT BM&Y AAF IDR WTF and got 2MI SMHD CSL! (For the texting illiterate this translates to mean—“Don’t quote me on this but between you and me, as a matter of fact, I wondered what WTF meant and got too much information. I am scratching my head in disbelief and can’t stop laughing!”) I understand that to save time and finger strokes, texters had to invent a language that would be efficient. But how can one possibly learn all the lingo? In my research for this story, I discovered thousands upon thousands of acronyms. My original thought to list the jargon was dashed when I realized it would consume about 45 pages of content and nobody would read it anyway. I would guess that a high school student who received an “F” in their foreign language class and could not translate the simple phrase, “How are you?” in Spanish, probably has memorized all the texting terminology.
A study, commissioned by Samsung Mobile, found that 81 percent of cell phone users are regular text messagers. In fact, more than a third - or 37 percent - said they prefer texting to communicate instead of having a phone conversation. In cell vs. celibacy, researchers discovered that nearly a third of men and women would surrender sex for a year rather than forfeit their mobile phones for the same amount of time.
My sister lives in Europe, and even though we e-mail every day, I still love to hear her voice on the phone. Human to human communication is significant and more meaningful than the typing of key strokes. So call me, I promise I will answer! C4N!

Monday, October 5, 2009


“PLUS SIZED” IN WHOSE EYES? My close acquaintances know that I live in a fantasy world where I maintain I am a former super model. My flight of the imagination is an “inside joke,” and no one really believes the claim except my computer gigolo Kevin (and I treasure him for his belief!) The most popular American dress size is a 14. But at that size one cannot wear high-end designer fashion because most designer fashion labels don't make a size 14 (they stop at 10 or 12). That’s an aesthetic decision, not a business move, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the market research firm NPD. The average model wears a size 2. Glamour magazine claims that they want to reach the average woman, so their recent issue features a nude photo shoot with “plus size” models (one of the images is pictured on this blog) . Glamour senior bookings editor Jennifer Koehler, said, “At most modeling agencies, any girl larger than a size 4 might have trouble getting work because she won't fit the clothes, and over a size 6 she would be moved to the plus division.” Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive wrote on her blog, “the staff is completely behind the push for a "body image revolution," which will include a commitment "to featuring a greater range of body types in our pages," she writes, "including in fashion and beauty stories (traditionally the toughest areas for even the top 'plus-size' models to crack)." Glamour writer Genevieve Field brags, “Our magazine has been on this wavelength since the early nineties. We've put Queen Latifah on the cover twice.” That quote is the same as claiming “some of my best friends are Jewish,” right after uttering an Anti-Semitic remark. All of this “holier than thou”, “body image revolution” attitude from Glamour senior staff is complete and utter gibberish and nonsense. There is no revolution. Look at the picture on this page-- there is not a man reading this posting who would not throw his significant other out the window for a night with one of these beauties. How are they “plus sized?” But more importantly, why should one’s physical dimensions make a difference in how we view them? The phrases “fat chance” and “slim chance” ironically have the same meaning. They are the only examples I can think of where size does not matter.


DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS!! While historically most humans did not enjoy full legal protection as persons (women, children, non-landowners, minorities, slaves, etc.), from the late 18th through the late 20th century, being born as a member of the human species gradually became secular grounds for the basic rights of liberty, freedom from persecution, and humanitarian care. Whether someone is heterosexual or homosexual should have no bearing on their designation of being a person and of their ability to function in the world. This holds true also whether someone is a man or a women; black or white; fat or thin; tall or short; Jewish or Catholic, etc, etc. A person is a person. I really don't understand the concept of discrimination; except for the only discrimination I practice which is based on whether a person is nice or not nice. James Jones, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser,said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," “that Obama will focus at the right time on how to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military. I don't think it's going to be — it's not years, but I think it will be teed up appropriately." Jones also said Obama "has an awful lot on his desk. I know this is an issue that he intends to take on at the appropriate time. And he has already signaled that to the Defense Department. The Defense Department is doing the things it has to do to prepare, but at the right time, I'm sure the president will take it on." Last year, 634 members of the military were discharged for being gay, or .045 percent of the active-duty U.S. force, according to an Aug. 14 congressional report. The largest number of gays who were ousted under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy came in 2001, when 1,227 were discharged, or .089 of the force. I don't understand why the ban existed in the first place and why it should be so difficult to end this abhorrent practice. Obama could just issue an Executive Order and the military could stop dismissing gays and lesbians who acknowledge their sexuality. Stare decisis et quieta non movere ( usualy referred to as just stare decisis by courts) is a Latin phrase that means to stand by and adhere to decisions and not disturb what is settled. We need to disturb what is settled. We should just follow the instructions of Winnie the Pooh who said,”A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

Friday, October 2, 2009


NO STUFFING OF THE BALLOT BOX IN COPENHAGEN There are probably only five people on the entire planet who don’t already know that Chicago lost the Olympic bid in the first round! Garnering a pathetic 18 votes of 94, Chicago suffered a world-wide humiliation by not being able to stuff the ballot box. Losing in the final round to Rio would have been palatable to some, but the global mortification of losing in round one will be hard to surmount. It is estimated that about $100 million was spent on the Chicago bid effort. While the majority of that money was raised by the 2016 Committee, I am sure there was tax-payer money involved somewhere. For example, will the Committee reimburse the City for the expense of the “loser” rally in Daley Plaza? I doubt it. Will the salaries of all the city officials who went to Copenhagen be paid by the Committee? I am confident they did not count the time spent away from City Hall as vacation time. If the city had expended as much time, effort and money on combating gang violence, fixing potholes, solving the parking meter debacle, finding shelter for the homeless, etc. etc., we would have accomplished something productive for the city. Now all we will have to show for the bid effort is a pile of shredded documents. Some of the excuses I have heard for losing have been pathetic. My favorite one was that because Chicago’s number in the balloting was number four, and four means “death” in Chinese, Asian IOC Committee members would not push that button!
Addressing reporters in Copenhagen, Daley dismissed the idea of another Chicago bid. “I’m disappointed but you go on with your life.” Daley said. "It’s already in this hemisphere, with Rio, and it would not make sense for an American city to try again in 2020. It’s in this hemisphere and they have to move somewhere else.” I don’t think the Mayor knows the definition of hemisphere for him to have said that. Some speechwriter is going to be fired when an educated pesky reporter, who is as smart as I am, points out that Chicago is in the northern hemisphere and Rio is the southern hemisphere. That’s DIFFERENT hemispheres, not the same!
Maybe Mayor Daley attended a Chicago Public School as a child and never learned geography; so the error in understanding topography is not his fault.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


WHOSE LIST IS IT? First some background. Former Illinois First Lady, Patti Blagojevich was hired as Director of Development for the Chicago Christian Industrial league (CCIL) in August 2008. She was fired 5 months later after her husband, former Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested. The fact that she was totally unqualified for the $100,000/job was questioned at the time of her hiring.
On September 16, 2009 Sun Times columnist Michael Sneed wrote an item that Rick Roberts, director of strategy for CCIL said that Patti Blagojevich upset donors because she was contacting people off the group's donor list to promote former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's new book. "Patti is using the list to e-mail and mail letters to people suggesting they buy her husband's book, and it's very, very bad form and unethical," Roberts said.
On September 18, 2009, Patti Blagojevich responded that the list was hers to begin with. In an interview with the Sun Times,Patti said, "The galling thing about this is before I got to CCIL -- there was no e-mail list. They had no e-mail outreach at all. I dumped all my contacts of all my friends...Their list is my list." CCIL Director of Strategy Rick Roberts, fired back at Patti's claim, saying, "We're a century-old organization. To say there was no contact list is absolutely ludicrous." Roberts added, "The league realizes clearly -- clearly -- it made a mistake hiring Patti."
Roberts also said Presbyterian donors as well as former and current board members were among those who complained of receiving solicitations to buy the ex-governor's book. Those people wouldn't have been brought to the table by Patti Blagojevich, he said.
Now Patti has filed a defamation suit against CCIL’s Roberts for making false accusations.
A lawsuit (http://www.prnewschannel.com/pdf/Blagojevich-Roberts.Compl.pdf) filed this morning (October 1,2009) in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., names Richard Roberts, the senior director of strategy and communications for the Chicago Christian Industrial League (CCIL) as the defendant. According to the lawsuit, Roberts falsely accused the former first lady of stealing CCIL’s donor list. But according to the suit, CCIL never maintained an email list of donors for purposes of outreach. The suit says Mrs. Blagojevich created her own list building on her personal Outlook contacts.
The complaint alleges that Roberts made false accusations to 'Chicago Sun-Times' columnist Michael Sneed, who then published the statements in a column on September 17, 2009. The suit does not name the 'Chicago Sun-Times,' Sneed or the charity itself as defendants.
One of the counts in the lawsuit reads that “by making the false accusations publicly, Roberts has caused great injury to Plaintiff’s reputation and her standing in the community.” Patti’s reputation and standing in the community were certainly in question before Robert’s accusations—whether they are false or not. I don’t see how Patti’s lawyers could ever prove damages on that count.
I do not know all the facts of the case and cannot comment on them; but I can personally comment on lists at CCIL. Back in 2004 and 2005, I Co-Chaired the “Celebration of Success” Annual fund raiser at CCIL when Judith McIntyre was Executive Director. I did not give CCIL use of any of my personal lists; the charity used their own lists and the lists developed by McIntyre. This was years before Patti worked at CCIL, so I know donor lists existed at CCIL at some point. I cannot say that the donor lists were not all magically erased from the charity’s computers, but I doubt it. Patti might have certainly added her own contact names to the original donor list, but the database existed before she arrived. How did we send out invitations to the fund raiser and have 100’s of attendees, if CCIL did not have a list? “There is no easier way to attract media attention and generate free publicity than to make false accusations against a person whose life is the focus of constant public attention and scrutiny,” says Jay Edelson of KamberEdelson, the lead attorney in this suit. I don’t see it that way. I think Edelson is using this suit to generate publicity for his firm; Rick Roberts did not actively seek this kind of negative publicity. Since being a contestant on “I’m A Celebrity Get me Out of Here,” Patti has craved the limelight. The lawsuit is just another promotional tool for her husband’s book. No publicity is bad publicity? Patti better learn fast that all adages are not true.