URBAN PHILOSOPHER
Conscience Laureate

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A COUPLE OF REAL TWITS

The definition of a twit is a foolish or stupid person. While the Cook County Board of Commissioner’s might be populated by many “twits,” today we are dealing with the two latest: Commissioners Joseph Mario Moreno (D- District 7) and Elizabeth Gorman (R-District 17).

The background on the story is that Moreno did not like that fellow Commissioner Anthony Peraica (R) was tweeting from County Board meetings, so he decided to try to make it illegal. The Daily Herald reported that, ”Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno has a proposed ordinance amendment before the Rules & Administration Committee that would ban the use of ‘publicly accessible instant-messaging platforms’ by commissioners, the board president and all those on the floor "during all meetings of the board.’ The proposed amendment specifically mentions ‘social-networking websites or like platforms,’ apparently aimed at Twitter and Facebook, Internet tools more and more politicians are making use of.”


The measure died during the first round of debate on the subject with one “yea”, five “nay” and three absent. Or, as the Sun-Times wrote in less than 140 characters, ”Cook County Commissioners can Tweet with abandon, lauding legislation and ripping rivals if they like.”


The Commissioners who were against the measure felt it would be a violation of the First Amendment right of freedom of speech. “This form of communication is protected. This form of ordinance is prior restraint. I don’t believe any court would uphold it, and I don’t think we should do it,” said Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D- District 13).


Commissioner Peter Silvestri (R- District 9) said,” I don’t think Cook County should be the test case. To me it seems like dangerous ground, and I’m not prepared to take it. I would hope the general public has a general understanding that you can’t believe everything you read.”


So Moreno was a “Twit” for proposing the measure, but what made Gorman one? She initially supported the ban, but ultimately voted against it when she realized there was no support for it to pass. That is idiotic! If she believed that the proposed ban was correct, she should have voted that way. Obviously she voted with the “in crowd,” for some statistical reason to make her record look good. Is that the way politicians are supposed to best represent their constituents? Voting with the majority even if they don’t agree? “Honesty is more important than perfection,” as my good friend Independent Gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen always says. Gorman certainly did not vote honestly!


How did Moreno take the loss of his proposal? About as well as he took his loss in his bid for re-election in the February primary, something Peraica won in his district


“It’s really a moot question because he’s not going to be here next term anyway,” Moreno said after the vote, offering his own political commentary about Peraica’s chance of winning re-election.”


Sour grapes definition of Moreno and Gorman written Twitter style, “Disparagement of something that is unattainable, you desire but cannot have.”


I’ll drink to that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

KRAMER VS. NOT KRAMER


Someone is either a dog person or a cat person; rarely are they both. Whichever pet one prefers, people are fiercely loyal and don’t seem to understand their counterpart’s love of the other breed. Today two media giants are in competition on who has the most beautiful pet. If I set it up correctly, you can vote in the survey at the top of the page. If I did not, then just send me an e-mail or comment on the blog.


This latest battle came about because of WCIU-TV which runs a daily animal “beauty pageant,” (wciu.com) that they say will answer the age-old question of which pet has household supremacy. The contest is called “Cats vs. Dogs,” but on September 27th a battle was held between a cat and a pig. Bella, the pig, is owned by talk show host Jerry Springer whose show airs on WCIU-TV. The cat is owned by former Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder, who has a blog on the WBEZ site, http://www.vocalo.org/.

 All day on Tuesday, like in actual Chicago politics, there were accusations of unfair lobbying, voter fraud and influence peddling flying back and forth between the candidates and their supporters. Some claimed that WCIU tried to manipulate the vote by a headline on their web site which read, “"Vote for Springer's Pig!" plus they ran a video of Jerry being interviewed about Bella. Others pointed out that Feder asked for votes for Kramer in his own column.
Bella


While the lead teetered back and forth all day, at the close of balloting, Kramer won by a vote of 927 vs. 822

Hearing about the contest, another media personality challenged feline Kramer to a real contest versus a dog. The story unfolds below.

The dog pictured is Bobby, 10, who is an Australian Terrier, not a Yorkie with a thyroid problem. Bobby is his name, but since he is not fussy, he will answer to Bob, Rob or Robert, as long as the person is holding a dog treat.
Bob


He is owned by WLS radio personality, Jake Hartford who has, according to his official bio, “Amid the intense backbiting, crushed egos, shattered careers and rampant paranoia & suspicion so prevalent in the radio business, Jake Hartford after many long years, clawed his way to the top of the Saturday morning broadcast heap on 890AM WLS.”
Kramer

Kramer, 9, is a Persian cat. While you can tangle a pet's name with Bob, etc., grownups no. Mr. Feder is Robert or Rob to those who know him. When you hear people try to make off like they are great personal friends with him and refer to him as Bob or Bobby, you know they don't know him at all. According to his Vocalo bio,”He has been keeping tabs on the media in Chicago for 30 years. A lifelong Chicagoan and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he was television and radio columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. At age 14, he founded the first and only Walter Cronkite Fan Club”

Now you know the combatants.

To help make your decision in voting, Jake wanted me to relate the following story.


Jake Hartford does not like cats. He told me, “When I was a young boy my mother was going to make a birthday cake for me. She left the two layers out to cool before she frosted them. I got home from school to find our Persian cat, Snowball, eating the middle of the cake. My mother tried to fill the cavity with more frosting, but it wasn't the same. Hated cats ever since. This contest has ripped the scab oft that emotional scar. I have that mental picture of the cat on top of the counter eating the cake when I got home seared into my brain. Can't remember the first girl I had sex with but I remember the cat on the cake.”


Robert Feder’s response: "Like his sitcom namesake, Kramer is the coolest cat around. And he knows it. P.S. I sincerely hope Jake gets help for his problem."


Let the battle begin. Eat, love or spay.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where is the beef? In my mouth!




Tonight, make mine beef!! I say that because the food police, better known as, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) do not want any more fast food chains being built in America. In fact, they hate fast food so much, they started airing television commercials that Crain’s Chicago Business described as, “The spot shows a dead man laying on a gurney with a half-eaten burger in one hand and a grieving woman at his side. As the camera pans around and stops at the man's feet, the Golden Arches logo appears with the line, ‘I was lovin' it,’ in a twist on the chain's tagline. A voiceover states, “high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian.’ “

The Crain’s story also reported, “ ‘There is a time for education and there is also a time for economic incentives and pressure, and fast food chains promote meat, cheese, sugary sodas and precious little else,’ said Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM. The goal of the campaign is to make it more difficult for some restaurant chains to enter the city and make it more advantageous for outlets that promote healthier foods to open new restaurants, Mr. Barnard added.”


I commented on the story by writing:

“This is totally ridiculous! Nobody is forced to eat McDonald's or any other fast food. It is a matter of personal choice. I am glad we live in a country where we are allowed to eat whatever we want, whether it is healthy or not. I am so sick of all the bleeding heart liberal groups taking a stance against anything that has calories in it. Kill a huge cow for me and let me devour the meat! Even better if it is served with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun!” (I heard some people at Crain’s enjoyed my comment!)


So PCM tells us it is okay to eat out, as long as we eat healthier foods.

Obviously if people eat at restaurants then they are not cooking at home. That is not good. Why? Because The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) did a study on the most frequently reported activities by intensity by U.S. adults and, “On any given day, the greatest prevalence for reported moderate activities was food and drink preparation for both men (12.8%) and women (37.63%).”


So the #1 exercise of Americans is making food! I guess we need to get out more! But in a way we are trapped by conflicting physician group reports.


PCRM says it is okay to eat out as long as we eat healthy. But if we eat out, then we will get AJPM is mad at us because going out for dinner will cut down on our “exercise” of food preparation.

I’ll just have alphabet soup for dinner and decide what to do by what the letters tell me!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I HAVE NEVER BEEN ARRESTED

Some people might think that with my big mouth, I would have been arrested at some point in my life for something, but not so. I have lead as clean a life as possible without ever feeling cold steel handcuffs slapped on my wrists. Not so for Darryl Marlow, who recently was arrested for the 253rd time!

Marlow was picked up by Chicago police on September 21st for violating the city’s ordinance against panhandling. He was arrested the day before also, for aggressive panhandling; his tenth time since March. He has been detained for public urination as well as such offenses as burglary, robbery, theft, criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance.


He has been convicted 38 times! So how is he still walking the streets of Chicago? How much time have Chicago policemen had to waste on Marlow when they could be investigating serious gang crime? What judges are allowing this man to appear in front of them for sentencing and obviously doing nothing? If they were doing anything, he would be behind bars!

Because I put my money behind my big mouth, I have decided that I cannot complain about this and do nothing. I have found out that Marlow will be appearing in front of a judge at Misdemeanor Branch Court at Belmont/Western on October 25th. I will attend his “trial” and report back here what happened. I will be a citizen advocate and monitor the hearing.

While we are being so lax in Chicago about our criminals, actress Lindsay Lohan was taken back to jail where she wass expected to spend nearly a month awaiting a hearing for violating her probation by failing a drug test.


According to the Los Angeles Times, “During a brief hearing, Judge Elden Fox said he had issued a bench warrant for Lohan based on a probation report, ‘indicating a positive test for a controlled substance.’ Fox said he needed further information from probation officials on Lohan's condition before a revocation hearing could be held. He then ordered Lohan into custody without bail and set an Oct. 22 court date.”


Later in the day, the judge reversed his ruling, release Lohan and set bail at $300,000. But he did set restrictions on her freedom, including her wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet.


Under the terms of her original probation, if Lohan missed a drug test or got a positive result, she could face 30 days in jail. Lohan was ordered back to court after failing a drug test last week, a month after being released from jail for violating her parole in a drunk driving case from 2007. Her legal troubles began then when she was arrested twice over a three-month period for DUI. She pleaded no contest and agreed to attend alcohol education classes.


Prosecutors alleged she failed to attend the required number of sessions; and was sentenced to 90 days in LA County Jail. She served 13 days in custody before being released to a rehabilitation program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she got out early after spending 23 days there.


After Lohan recently admitted, via Twitter, that she had failed a drug test she was hauled back to court and then to jail last week


It is incredible how different the criminal justice results are for these two people in their run-ins with the law. Wealthy Lohan sits in jail and homeless Marlow is free on the streets.


The City of Los Angeles is jokingly referred to as “La La Land” because of its name and the characteristics of its population. The definition of “La La Land” is “A place renowned for its frivolous activity; a state of mind characterized by unrealistic expectations or a lack of seriousness.” Well the judges in Los Angeles are serious and in the Windy City it seems they are just blowing smoke.













Friday, September 24, 2010

EDUCASHON







When U.S, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (former Chicago Public Schools CEO) was in Chicago recently he spoke to a group of reporters and made a few statements that horrified me.


The Tribune wrote, “Duncan said new results showing only slightly more than half of Illinois high school students passed standardized tests in math, reading and science aren’t relevant to students because passage is not required to graduate.”

Go back and read that sentence again.

When the Secretary of Education says that he does not see it as a problem that CPS students aren’t educated to a level where they can pass a test which students in the rest of the country pass, in the rest of the country something seems wrong. To him, failure does not matter, because CPS does not require a passing grade on standardized testing as a requirement for graduation. Wait! If a CPS student cannot pass simple tests in math, reading and science, why should they be allowed to graduate? Of course the test scores should be relevant! Duh! A passing grade SHOULD be a requirement for graduation.

When asked about the Illinois statewide results poor math scores, the Sun-Times quoted Duncan as saying, 'The test in Illinois makes no sense. There are no stakes for the child.' The Sun-Times goes on: "What happened to the child who doesn't do well in the high school exam in Illinois? He answered his own question. 'Nothing,' said Duncan. 'It is irrelevant.'"

Now he is the secretary of education for the entire country and yet he thinks that, “It is irrelevant,” if Illinois students do so poorly on the tests? If the tests are “irrelevant,” then why are they given?

If they are “irrelevant” then that means they serve the same purpose as testing the intelligence of dogs and cats instead of students. The scores would be immaterial in either case, according to Duncan’s reasoning.

So what are Duncan’s future plans? Symposiums on education? Figuring ways to get more money for schools? No. Duncan told reporters, “Starting in mid-October, I will be out across the country working for a variety of candidates.”


I guess the plight of education is like catnip to Duncan. At first he gets excited about it, rubs it, rolls over it, kicks it and generally goes nuts for a few minutes. Then he loses interest and goes out on the road stumping for political candidates. When he gets back to D.C. the catnip will attract him again. He needs to be attracted full time and not diverted by other scents.



































Thursday, September 23, 2010

LOTTERY DEAL A WINNING TICKET FOR ONE

The latest Mega Millions winner is Northstar, the company that Governor Quinn has chosen to manage the Illinois lottery, though the integrity of the drawing is in question.

I first wrote about the possible privatization of management of the lottery on July 26th, (Let The Mob Run It) when I quoted WLS radio personality Jake Hartford who said, "Only in Illinois can we fail at gambling. Why don't we just hire the mob to run it for us? They have done well in that area."

Since nobody yet knows the details of the contract with Northstar, maybe Jake Hartford’s suggestion would have produced better results!

Worried about how the contract was awarded, State Representative Jack D. Franks (D-Woodstock) has called for an investigation into the recent awarding of the Illinois Lottery Private Management Agreement (PMA) by the Quinn Administration. In a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Franks asked that the actions of Governor Pat Quinn’s secret Illinois Lottery Evaluation Committee leading to the awarding of the contract to Northstar be carefully scrutinized.


“This deal reeks of unfair advantage and insider dealing,” said Franks in reference to Governor Quinn’s Wednesday announcement that Northstar would take over privately managing the Illinois Lottery. “The secrecy of the Quinn Administration throughout the bidding process has given rise to many questions. In our state, there is good reason to fear that without transparency, clout-heaving bidders will continue to unfairly win contracts based on their relationships, rather than their value. Taxpayers deserve to have access to all relevant information, or they may become victims of yet another bad deal.”

Franks has remained an outspoken critic of the privatization of the Illinois lottery. He contends the state would be better served to make necessary changes to the lottery itself and continue managing it internally, looking to other states that successfully manage their lotteries for advice. According to Franks, better managing the lottery internally could increase annual revenues by $650 million to $2 billion.


Most concerning about the PMA award is that Northstar will essentially be managing itself. Three Northstar subsidiary companies, G-Tech, Scientific Gains and Energy BBDO/Chicago, are already contracted with the State of Illinois to provide the same services outlined in the PMA. The content of the PMA was changed significantly halfway through the process, leading Franks to question whether the original PMA was simply a tool to stifle competition and allow for an essentially no-bid contract.


“I’m concerned for the interests of the taxpayers and also the well-being of our state,” Franks said. “Illinois is on the brink of fiscal ruin, and I am fearful that this lottery contract is a step in the wrong direction on the road to recovery for our state. I strongly believe that the process of the Lottery PMA must be evaluated and if questions remain, the contract should be re-bid.”


It is easy to win the lottery when there are only a few tickets sold and easier if you hold the only ticket. Knowing the numbers in advance will certainly produce a winner with Illinois taxpayers being the losers. Or as a friend said to me,” The mob already runs the lottery; it’s just a different mob.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's The Angle?








In Chicago there is always an angle. Nothing happens for no reason; there is no “just because.” That is why I am totally baffled why the administration at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) decided to remove all the remaining pay phones from train platforms and bus enclosures because there does not seem to be any reason!

 
The Chicago Tribune reported that, “In April, the CTA declined to renew its contract with Pacific Telemanagement Services, which operates the pay phones, and now the transit agency plans to have the remaining pay phones removed from its train platforms and bus enclosures.”


I can understand the statement: "In recent years, with more people using cell phones, there has been a steady decline in the use of coin-operated phones, which has resulted in a significant drop in revenue for the CTA," CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory said in an e-mail to the Tribune. In fact, the CTA only received $600 in commissions for pay phone use in the last quarter.


But Pacific Telemanagement Services wants to leave in place the 179 phones that are still remaining. As to the lousy commission, "It may not be a significant contribution to the CTA, but it's not costing them anything," Michael Rossi, the firm's chief operating officer said, because the CTA does not pay anything for the maintenance of the phones.


According to the Tribune, before hundreds of phones were removed, Rossi also pointed out, “that about 1 million calls are placed from the pay phones on CTA property each year, with approximately 655,000 calls actually completed.”


Kurt Gibbs, vice president of sales for Pacific Telemanagement, said that the phones are regularly used to call 911, which is a free call. The CTA countered with, “Security is not an issue because there are call buttons on train platforms, in addition to CTA staff to monitor things.” Well, if that were true, then why are so many 911 calls made from CTA pay phones?


It does not make sense. The pay phones cost the CTA zero dollars, are a convenience to riders whose own cell phones do not work underground, a benefit to those who don’t have a cell phone and are used for 911 calls. There must be an angle here that I am missing.


Robert Manewith told me that 15 years ago pay phones were removed from the Morse Avenue stop at 1358 W. Morse because drug dealers were using them to hook up with junkies. That made sense before cell phones were so prolific. Nowadays that excuse for pay phone removal would be moot because the dealers carry prepaid cell phones where the calls cannot be traced.


So what is the reason to eliminate the phones? There is no seemingly legitimate explanation. Unless, we see in the upcoming months some sweetheart no-bid deal with a cell carrier to provide service underground. Maybe that’s the ticket to ride.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reversing The Flow of Sewage in Chicago






Can a newly elected mayor in Chicago reverse the flow of sewage in the city and truly clean up city government? Political corruption has been a real-life Monopoly game played in Chicago since the city was incorporated on March 4, 1837 with connected politicians and their cronies trading land, labor, capital and contracts for their own benefit. Even though this type of autocratic government management costs the citizens through bloated taxes, in the end, somehow by smoke and mirrors, it works.


In 1900, the problem of sewage entering Lake Michigan was resolved by the Sanitary District of Chicago when it reversed flow of the Chicago River to carry our city’s effluent downstream to the Mississippi. Now Mayor Richard Daley has been talking about re-reversing the flow, to protect the river from unwanted invasive species of fish.


Because the city does not disinfect the human waste flowing into its main sewage treatment plants and instead relies on nature to clean the bad stuff out as it flows down to the Gulf of Mexico, a river redirection would require improvements in the city’s sewage treatment system. It would also lead to…requiring —surprise! — a huge public works project to re-create the barrier that was destroyed more than a century ago. Building anything means spending money and lots of contracts—hopefully not bloated under a new administration.


The reversal of the Chicago River has been called one of the greatest engineering feats of the last century, but it might lose that munificent title if a new mayor engineers a culture of honesty in City Hall. The Chicago River could be dyed white to symbolize purity on St. Patrick’s Day and not green the color of money


Few people remember that what caused the late Alderman Paddy Bauler to utter the infamous line, “Chicago ain’t ready for reform,” was his reference to Richard J. Daley defeating then Mayor Martin Kennelly in the 1955 Chicago mayoral election, the victory that started the Daley dynasty.


The quote is referred to every Chicago election cycle as political columnist after political columnist speculates that maybe this time an honest candidate will win. The pundits have been wrong for the past 55 years; will 2011 be different?


Don’t throw your vote down the toilet on February 22 by voting for another machine politician; reverse the flow of sewage into Chicago with a reformer.







Monday, September 20, 2010

SHORT STORIES






Sometimes I have topics to write about that don’t justify a full blog on their own. Today I am “cleaning up” some of the thoughts that have been festering in my brain and I am posting a few short stories.

(1) Has anyone thrown out the name of Jane Byrne as a potential Mayoral candidate? She was Chicago’s first and only female Mayor, she hired the city’s first African-American school superintendent and she was the first Chicago Mayor to recognize the gay community. That would give her three huge voting constituencies who might support her.

(2) The only competition for votes from those three groups could be former United States Senator Carol Mosley Braun, who has said she will run. Since her campaign coffers have a NEGATIVE balance of $262,358.00, she has problems! My friend Kelly Tarrant told me about Progress Illinois which has a great posting on their web site (www.progressillinois.com) with a spreadsheet of who is “In,” who is “Mulling” and who is “Out” for the Mayoral race. It also lists how much money any potential candidate already has. In the categories of “In” and “Mulling” the run away cash leader is Alderman Ed Burke with $4,420,582.58. Rahm Emanuel is a far away second with $1,175,763.00.


(3) Now that Mayor Daley is retiring, the bicyclists will lose their main cheerleader. Yeah! I mentioned that to Brian Steele, CDOT spokesperson, when I ran into him on Michigan Avenue the other day when I was walking with Shia Kapos of Crain's. He was not on a bike! When I told him how happy I was that maybe pedestrians and cars could take back the streets, he said to me that I probably would not be pleased at the new plans that the Department of Transportation already has for more bike lanes. In a sidebar of irony, the name of the four-time Olympian racing cyclist from Great Britain is Bryan Steel. Names spelled differently, but both like bikes!

(4) When someone does not pay a parking ticket, the collection of it gets turned over to various law firms Chicago has hired to muscle people for money. My good friend and radio personality Jake Hartford pointed out to me that legendary Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet has had an outstanding parking violation for $73.20 since September 15, 1998. Kupcinet was one of the most visible people in Chicago; how could the city not find him to dun him for the money? Kupcinet died on November 10, 2003, so the city had 5 years to locate him before he left us for a loftier home. The city’s web site still has the ticket listed and says that it has been referred to a collection agency or law firm. When I told Kupcinet’s son, Jerry, about this, he gave me an address that the city should send the bill to: Memorial Park, plot number 7632. Now the Department of Revenue knows where to find him to get their $73.20.


(5) I received one of the most cleverly designed invitations ever for a political fund raiser from State Representative Jack Franks’ campaign. The back of the invitation has a full color picture of a cell phone with lots of Apps on it. It listed how you could respond to the invite by Facebook, Telephone, YouTube, Online, Postal Service or e-mail. I twittered Jack. I know it was not one of the choices, but I wanted to see what happened. I have not heard back yet. Just proves how hard it is to connect with politicians! (Of course I am being facetious here because I don’t know how to Twitter.)

In conclusion, wouldn’t daily short stories make a fun radio show? Sort of like Paul Harvey used to do, but I would do it live for call ins. Maybe I can pitch some program directors when I am at the Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on November 6th. If you would like to attend the event, go to www.radiohof.org for more information.

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Justification for Tuition Vouchers


The latest ACT college admission scores were released and, once again, the Chicago Public School results are still embarrassingly pathetic, even though they increased 0.03% from last year to an average score of 17.3. But the students who attend schools run by the Archdiocese of Chicago scored on average 22.8 on the test or 30% better than CPS students. Does that mean Catholics are smarter or do they just know how to educate better? The answer is obvious!


On July 30th, I posted a blog, “The Test Scores Are Still Failing Numbers,” where I castigated Mayor Daley for touting high school ACT test numbers that, while rising, are still pathetic. I wrote, “With the exception of community colleges, a student cannot expect to gain entrance to an institution of higher education with an American College Testing (ACT) score lower than 20; that means that 75.6% of CPS students do not have scores high enough to attend and succeed in college.”

What is the excuse this time that CPS has for public school students scoring at a much lower level than parochial students? They seem to be going with the theory advanced by the Sun-Times, “More than 85 percent of the CPS test-takers qualified for free or reduced lunch, while only 17 percent of archdiocesan test-takers did so.”


What does qualifying for free lunch program have to do with anything? If CPS is blaming low ACT scores on the fact that their students are hungry, that is incorrect because the students get free food at school, so their belly’s should be full. What does food have to do with it?

As President Harry Truman said, "If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em."

It has been 15 years since Mayor Daley took control of CPS and the performance of the students is as miserable now as it was then. While many beautiful magnet schools have been built, what has been accomplished to help the average student? Nothing, as the test scores once again prove.


I also wrote on July 30th, “As Reverend Meeks has said about the Mayor,'Public schools is not his expertise. It's just not. You could be passionate about something but it doesn't mean you're good at it.' Meeks, a product of Harper High school in Chicago, might exhibit bad grammar in his speech, but what he said is correct. “

I pontificated in July that the Mayor’s grade for what he has done to bolster the educational system in Chicago would be a big, fat F. Whoever the next Mayor puts in charge of CPS can only do better, but let’s hope that that is more than 0.03% better. Maybe the new Mayor should look to God for guidance in his choice.











Thursday, September 16, 2010

STUPID PEOPLE NIGHT

The Chicago Tribune ran an editorial titled, “Ladies’ Night Lives,” about a recent ruling by The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan that upheld the right of bars to hold “Ladies’ Night” promotions. I won’t drink to that, not because I think it is discriminatory against men per se, but because it is favorable to women. I thought feminism was for a level playing ground to be established, not for the right of women to drink cheap liquor.

But discrimination is not the basis of why the Court ruled as they did. The unanimous three-judge panel said that it was not proven that bars are subject to a law barring discrimination by anyone acting under government authority. The plaintiff in the case, Den Hollander, alleged that clubs "engage in state action" because they sell booze under licenses issued by the state. The Court wrote in its opinion that, "Regardless of the veracity of this statement, we cannot agree that the state's liquor licensing laws have caused the nightclubs to hold 'ladies' nights. Liquor licenses are not directly related to the pricing scheme."

The Court also cited, "with great reluctance," a 1972 Supreme Court decision that "found no state action" when a Moose Lodge in Pennsylvania refused to serve a black man because the club limited membership to white males. "Until the Supreme Court revisits Moose Lodge, we are required to follow its holding," they wrote.

In my opinion, Hollander lost because of legal mumbo jumbo semantics, not because he was wrong.

Most interesting in the Tribune editorial on the subject was, “For that matter, notes George Mason University law professor Nelson Lund, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which requires equal access to public accommodations (such as taverns), does not outlaw discrimination on the basis of sex — only of race, national origin and religion.” So there are only three protected classes from discrimination-- that does not seem adequate. I can think of lots more that need protecting!

A prominent group would be, “Stupid People.” But since, as my friend Lisa says, “Most people don’t realize that they fall into that category,” it is difficult to protect them. A nightclub could hold a promotion that would allow stupid people to drink for free, but who would admit they were stupid just to get complimentary liquor? Smart people, realizing economically that it is good to drink for free would say they were stupid just to get the free drinks. But since stupid people would be too embarrassed to admit they are stupid, they would pay for the booze, thus making them more stupid! So the promotion essentially fails because the smart people are drinking “on the house” and it is supposed to be “Stupid People Night.”

That last paragraph might seem confusing, but since readers of this blog are smart, I am sure you all get it.

Since women demand equal pay for equal work in the business world, then they should pay equal prices for equal drinks on the adult playground. It should cost them the same for a beer as it does a man. Anything else would be stupid.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

IT IS FINE WITH ME!



I do not speed. I always wear my seat belt. I do not, or never had, a suspended driver’s license. So I am glad that the fines for those traffic violations have been jacked up about 60%. That means more money for the state and municipalities, so maybe they won’t have to raise the taxes on Diet Coke or cigarettes.

It has been 17 years since the fines for speeding, not wearing a seat belt or driving on a suspended or revoked license have been raised, but starting September 15, because of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling, a new higher fee schedule takes effect. The fee increases only pertain to violations where the offending driver does not have to show up for traffic court. I think every driver who violates the rules of the road should have to show up in court, so people should be happy I am not the one making decisions because I would make appearance mandatory. I think if people had to actually show up in court and waste a day of their life it would be more of a deterrent than raising the financial price of punishment.

I was mystified by a quote in a Sun-Times story by a woman upset about the higher fines because one does not have to pay the fine unless they break the law. Since the new increased fines only impact the lawless, then law abiding citizens should be happy that the price of traffic violations went up because it is more money for the state budget that did not come out of their own pocket! For example, Barbara Oladunni, 40, an unemployed South Sider, said of the increases,”That's terrible because a lot of people have lost their jobs." What does losing your job have to do with speeding? If you don’t have a job then you don’t have to worry about making it to the office on time, so you don’t have an excuse to be driving too fast!

The amount for posting bonds has gone up at least 50% also, but I am astounded by how low they still are. Since one only has to post 10% of the bond amount, almost about anybody could make bond just by pawning a piece of jewelry. Some examples are:

625 ILCS 5/11–204 Fleeing or Attempting to
Elude Police Officer $2,000 (was $1,000)

625 ILCS 5/11–401(a) Leaving Scene of Accident
Death or Injury $2,000 (was $1,000)

625 ILCS 5/11–501 Misdemeanor Driving Under
Influence of Alcohol or Drugs or with 0.08 or more blood- or Breath-Alcohol Concentration $3,000 (was $1,000 + a valid DL for bond)

In conclusion, my point is that the level of the fine does not matter as long as one obeys the law. Make the fine for driving without a seat belt $1 million, then everyone would buckle up for sure! I checked out the new traffic violations and fines that took effect this year in the Arab Emirate of Qatar and most of them, including using a cellular phone while driving, include prison time. Trust me, the extra $45 fine in Illinois for speeding is now looking very fair when one sees the options in other countries!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Am Mad At Coca-Cola!


My love for Diet Coke is legendary. I go to sleep at night drinking a Diet Coke and wake up in the morning drinking a Diet Coke. I carry a can with me wherever I go. I chastise restaurant managers who don’t serve a perfect blend of syrup and carbonation from their fountains. I literally live and breathe Diet Coke. So for me to utter the words, “I am mad at Coca Cola,” it must be very serious!


What is causing my anger is a full page ad in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune (and I am sure in other newspapers across the world) that tells us, “Our nation is facing an obesity problem and we plan on being part of the solution. By promoting balanced diets and active lifestyles, we can make a positive difference.” Blah, blah, blah with stuff about Coca-Cola partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of America and paying to rebuild national trails and ending with telling readers to go to their web site www.livepositively.com to learn about proper nutrition and all sorts of other things.

Why do the ad and web site upset me so much? Because Coca-Cola should not have to spend millions of dollars on ads and web sites justifying their existence! They are a great company that produces carbonated beverages, fruit juices, energy drinks, tea and water which people can choose to consume or not consume. That choice should be made because of the flavor of the beverage, not because of some fancy web site that the company is touting.

The Q&A guide on “Fact and Myths,” is 44 pages long and includes, to me, stupid questions like:

Q. How can Coca-Cola’s beverages be part of a balanced, sensible diet?


A. Any food or beverage can be a part of a balanced, sensible diet when consumed in moderation. Experts agree that keys to maintaining a healthy weight include consuming a variety of foods and beverages from all food groups, consuming the right amount of calories for your energy needs and incorporating physical activity into each day.

Q. How many servings of sparkling beverages can you drink a day?


A. Like all foods and beverages, sparkling beverages should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a variety of hydration options and accompanied by a balanced, sensible diet and a physically active lifestyle. The number of servings that are right for you will depend on your energy needs and your level of physical activity.

There are other sections on what the company is doing to reduce its carbon footprint, their recycling programs, protecting human rights in the workplace, yada, yada, yada. I agree that Coca-Cola is a fabulous company, but I drink Diet Coke because it tastes delicious, not because the company protects the rights of workers in its supply chain.


Pepsi could donate 100 billion dollars a year to some humanitarian cause and I still would not drink Diet Pepsi because it tastes horrible! What a shame that we live in a world where people often do not make their food decision based solely on flavor, but on the sustainable packaging strategy of the parent company. They would rather consume an inferior tasting product just because the company is trying to “save the planet” or something.

Coca-Cola does not have to take out full page ads and fancy web sites that seemingly defend the fact that they simply produce beverages. The research guys at Coke are not rocket scientists, I care about the flavor of my Diet Coke, not if the company can land a man on Mars.





Monday, September 13, 2010

Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is


On November 9, 2009, I posted a blog called, “MONEY CAN BUY ANYTHING (Well, almost),” that talked about Michael Bloomberg spending his own money to win the New York City Mayoral election. While his spending upset some people, I wrote, “The only people who complain that it is not fair for a candidate to try to “buy” an election are people without money. I don’t understand why they would rather choose a candidate who raised money from special interest groups-- who they then would have to pander to--instead of choosing someone who put up their own personal cash.”

I still agree with that assessment a year later.

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown interviewed Illinois Independent Gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen for a September 12th story, entitled "Cohen's got a checkbook, and he's using it." Cohen stated he plans to spend up to $6 million of his own money to fund his campaign. While that is no where near the $100 million Bloomberg spent, it is still a lot of cash. It is Scott Lee Cohen’s personal cash to spend anyway he pleases and if funding his own campaign is what pleases him, then so be it. Cohen earned the money; he can choose how to spend the money.

The media is very fickle. If a candidate collects money from unions and PACS they are castigated for becoming beholden to special interest groups, and, at the same time, if they use their own money, they are castigated for trying to buy an election. What is a candidate to do? Have no campaign fund at all and just stride around the state holding a sign on a stick? (cost of sign, $3.00; picture of candidate marching with a sign, priceless!)


Brown also wrote,” Unlike Brady or Quinn, Cohen has taken the Illinois Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a strict no-tax-increase promise demanded by Jim Tobin's Tax Accountability group. Cohen is expecting the conservative group's endorsement.

Cohen said he's the right guy to make the tough decisions. “I've got balls," he said. "One thing you have to admit is I've got balls.’ “


So think about this on November 2nd when you are in the privacy of the voting booth, the last Governor we elected in Illinois had great hair, this one has great balls. I know who I am voting for.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I FORGOT WHAT I WAS WRITING ABOUT PART DEUX



Last Friday, I wrote a blog, “I Forgot What I Was Writing About,” that dealt with recent research on ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Studies had showed that physical activity, regular tea-drinking and sufficient vitamin D levels could reduce the risk of brain decline. I wrote that I was worried about my own brain decline because I don’t exercise, drink tea or get vitamin D. But since I do math puzzles and creative growth mind tests all the time, I thought I was at least helping myself by exercising the muscle that is my brain. I was wrong! There is no hope for me as the newest research reveals.


A recent study by doctors at Rush University Medical Center’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center reports that mentally stimulating activities may, at first, slow cognitive decline but actually speed up dementia later in old age. The research was published in the September 1, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, (http://www.neurology.org/) the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The Rush Hospital press release said, “According to lead author, neuropsychologist Robert S. Wilson PhD, mentally stimulating activities may somehow enhance the brain’s ability to function relatively normal despite the buildup of lesions in the brain associated with dementia. However, the benefits from brain exercises may be of no help after the pathologic burden exceeds some threshold.”


Dr. Wilson said, “Our results suggest that the benefit of delaying the initial signs of cognitive decline may come at the cost of more rapid dementia progression later on, but the question is why does this happen? The report showed that, “Mentally stimulating activities may somehow enhance the brain’s ability to function relatively normally despite the buildup of lesions in the brain associated with dementia. However, once they are diagnosed with dementia, people who have a more mentally active lifestyle are likely to have more brain changes related to dementia compared to those without a lot of mental activity. As a result, those with more mentally active lifestyles may experience a faster rate of decline once dementia begins.”

In short, mental activities may delay the start of dementia but once I get it, my brain decline process will speed up. So I have to make a decision now, when I have not started dementia, on whether NOT to stimulate my brain and have a slow descent into dementia or stimulate my brain now and have a careening descent later in my cognitive decline.


It’s a tough decision to make, even for a member of Mensa. I will do some math puzzles while I think about it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NO LEFT TURNS


I hate making a left turn while driving in a city because pedestrians pay no attention to the Do Not Walk sign and cause vehicular traffic to back up when they ignore the rules. This especially maddens me at the corners of Huron/Michigan (going west on Huron) and Erie/Michigan (going east on Superior). I have embarrassed many friends when I have yelled at the pedestrians screaming, “The signal says don’t walk. You suburbanites don’t know how to follow the signs.”


I am not the only person who hates left turns. In 1975, former FBI agent, Joseph Schott, published a book about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, called, “"No Left Turns." The title was derived from the fact that when anyone was driving the Director they had to establish routes that did not include left turns.


In a Washing Post story in 1995, book critic, Jonathan Yardley revisited the book and wrote the following descriptive about one section.


“On one memorable occasion, though, the home office descended on Schott. In November 1959 Hoover and Tolson decided to visit Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, whose presidential aspirations Hoover looked upon favorably. Schott's account of Fort Worth's preparations for this historic event, the event itself and its aftermath occupies some 30 pages and is the highest spot in a book that has many high ones. It begins with a long briefing by Fort Worth's SAC (special agent in charge) in which the route the guests would be driven from Love Field airport in Dallas to the Stephen F. Austin Hotel in Austin was traced inch by inch. "No sweat," Schott said, to which the SAC responded: "There's one catch. . . . There will be no left turns." That, as Schott says, "startled everybody," until "a good explanation" was put forth:


"In California several months before, the Director's chauffeur-driven car, while making a left turn, had been struck by another car from behind. The Director had been shaken up. He had been sitting on the left side behind the driver. Now he refused to sit on the left rear seat any more and had forbidden all left turns on auto trips."


UPS also hates left turns. When one of their big brown trucks is sitting idling in a left-hand turn lane it consumes time and gas. On an individual basis, not a lot of time or gas, but when there are more than 95,000 trucks delivering packages, the waste adds up. In 2006, the company developed “package-flow” software which included mapping out routes that would drastically reduce the number of left-hand turns drivers made.


How much did UPS save by the left-turn elimination? In the first year of use, according to Heather Robinson, a UPS spokeswoman, the software helped the company, “shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. “


I only drive about 3,000 miles a year, so my eliminating left-hand turns won’t save much on gas or time. But being the conservative that I am, I hate going left anyway!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FINDING JOBS FOR UNEMPLOYED POLITICIANS

The unemployment rate in Illinois will be rising after the November and February election cycles. Many politicians have decided not to run for their old positions like Mayor Richard M. Daley, U.S. Senator Roland Burris, multiple Aldermen and State Reps; while others are seeking different offices, like Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias who is hoping to become a U.S. Senator. What is one to do when one is a politician being put out to pasture? The losers could always attend one of Independent Gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen’s job fairs, but most likely would be too embarrassed to wait in a line with 1,000 other unemployed persons. Or they could go to http://www.myskillsmyfuture.org/. This address will lead an out of work politician to a one-stop career web site that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Current government helping has-been government officials seems like it would work. Much better than going to careerbuilder.com where a politician has no clout. The site “helps laid-off workers and other career changers find new occupations to explore. Users can identify occupations that require skills and knowledge similar to their current or previous job, learn more about these suggested matches, locate local training programs, and/or apply for jobs.” The site touts that it can, “Build a bridge to your new Career,” and follows with, “Tell us a job you’ve had. We’ll match your skills to new careers.” There is a boxed area for one to enter their “current or previous job.” So for fun, I entered some job titles and got some interesting results! The matches for some of the other political offices are quite interesting. Enter, “Governor” and the best job match is:
Ship Engineer Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.
(I guess that supervising activities of a crew is analogous to dealing with legislators) Enter, “President” and the two best job matches for outgoing Cook County Board President Todd Stroger are: First-Line Supervisor/Manager of Aquacultural Workers: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of aquacultural workers.
Nursery and Greenhouse Manager: Plan, organize, direct, control, and coordinate activities of workers engaged in propagating, cultivating, and harvesting horticultural specialties, such as trees, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, and other plants.
(Todling Stroger would not even know what the word aquacultural means, much less be able to do the job.) State Representatives best match with:
Customer Service Representatives: Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services.
(That is exactly what legislators do when dealing with constituents, so this one makes sense.) It is interesting that for, “Mayor” the site feels that education administrator would be a good fit. How did the site know that Mayor Daley took control of the Chicago public schools a number of years ago and is an “expert” in education?
The second best fit is:
First-Line Supervisor/Manager of Office and Administrative Support Workers: Supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative support workers.
(That is exactly what the Mayor does now, so a job in this field would be a perfect match!)
Unfortunately for Aldermen, City Council members, Senator and Lt. Governor, the site responds with, “Sorry, we did not find any occupation to match. Please enter a current or previous occupation and try again.” OOPs! Those guys are in trouble!
But there are no job matches for prostitutes, drug dealers or thieves either. Very interesting that both groups have no future occupations to match what they currently do. I wonder what the correlation is?

Monday, September 6, 2010

I WON'T OUTSOURCE THIS BLOG

Genpact, an Indian company that is a global leader in business process and technology management, is looking to locate call centers in America because, according to President and CEO Pramod Bhasin, “Americans are open to working at home and working at lower salaries than they were used to." Currently the company employs more than 41,000 people providing services in 30 languages on a 24/7 basis. They have already opened call centers in Chicago. But will the American employees need to speak with an Indian accent?
Nobody has told this news about Indian companies coming to America to NBC which has a new show on its Fall line up called “Outsourced.” The show is based on the eponymous John Jeffcoat feature film. The premise of the show is a call center of an American novelties company located in Mumbai, India. A lone American employee manages the call center and must explain American popular culture to his employees so they can best try to essentially fool callers to think that they are really speaking to someone in America. We all know we are talking to someone in India, so I wonder why companies think they are tricking us? A video preview of the show can be seen at: http://www.nbc.com/outsourced/video/outsourced-full-length-trailer/1228242/
I watched the trailer and find it to be one of the most racially offensive shows since Amos ‘N’ Andy aired from the 1920-1950’s on radio and television.
NBC has run an extensive line up of ads for this show that are impossible to miss. Where is the Indian community on this? Why haven’t there been protests? Where is the equivalent Reverend Jesse Jackson of New Delhi to protest this show? Where do American labor unions stand on this issue? Questions that will be answered once the show starts airing.
How will unemployed Americans find it funny in a recession to watch and laugh about a sitcom about their jobs being shipped overseas? Where is the humor in the pain of no paycheck?
Maybe Chicagoans will give the show good ratings because of Genpact bringing jobs here. But the rest of the country will need to watch also, unless NBC is outsourcing the audience.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I FORGOT WHAT I WAS WRITING ABOUT

The Alzheimer’s Association held an international conference in Honolulu recently. Three different studies showed that physical activity, regular tea-drinking and sufficient vitamin D levels could reduce the risk of brain decline. "These are encouraging," says William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association and these types of studies make people think, 'Well gosh, maybe I can do something about this disease.’ " It is a disease that scares me because I am already forgetting everything.
This is nothing to be flippant about; 5.3 million Americans have it and half a million Americans in their 30s, 40s and 50s have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. It is the seventh leading cause of death.
One of the studies, conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was a cardiovascular risk study that followed more than 1,200 elderly people over 20 years; 242 of whom developed dementia. According to Gannett, ”The researchers found that participants who had moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40 percent lower risk of developing any type of dementia. Those who reported the least amount of activity were 45 percent more likely to develop dementia compared with those who logged higher levels of activity.”
A second study followed more than 4,800 men and women ages 65 and older for up to 14 years. It showed that people who drank tea “had less mental decline than non-tea drinkers. Those who drank tea one to four times a week had average annual rates of decline 37 percent lower than people who didn't drink tea.”
The third study presented by British researchers looked at vitamin D's effect on brain health; they examined data from 3,325 U.S. adults ages 65 and older that revealed “Odds of cognitive impairment were about 42 percent higher in those deficient in vitamin D, and 394 percent higher in people severely deficient.”
“More and more studies are suggesting that lifestyle changes may be able to silence the expression of risk genes, a phenomenon called epigenetics,” says Duke University’s Murali Doraiswamy, an expert on aging. He says learning how to tap into that is going to be a high priority.
The June 6th issue of Time Magazine this year had a fascinating story on epigentics and how people can change their DNA to the betterment of future generations. I won’t quote it here; you can read the article at www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1951968,00.html. Since I have no children, the future of my genes is not important to me or anyone else.
My conclusion after reading these studies is that I am in trouble! My physical activity is practically nil, I don’t drink tea and good sources of Vitamin D are not in the foods that I eat!
With my lifestyle, I will be lucky to make it to 60th birthday. Better hope you are in my will now before I forget who you are!

MAKE IT LEGAL!

Sheriff Tom Dart unveiled two billboards last Sunday warning “johns” that they could be fined up to $2,150 if they are caught soliciting a prostitute. While I applaud Dart for his efforts, hitting a man in his wallet is not the way to stop prostitution; hitting him in the groin is because that is where a man's brain is.
The Cook County Board passed a “Nuisance Violation Ordinance” whose “intent of this ordinance is to abate the demand for prostitution by increasing fines for those individuals patronizing persons in prostitution.” If a man is already paying for sex, this new ordinance just increases what he might have to pay if he gets caught. Money does not matter to a man seeking sex, but maybe increased jail time would! Most men are not paying prostitutes for sex; they are paying for “uncomplicated” sex. Discounting diseases, hiring a prostitute is low-risk fornication because, unlike an affair, the woman walks away after the dirty deed. No strings attached. Money is just the means of determining the worth of the service and paying for it. A fine will not be a deterrent. This is proved by the fact that a man was arrested for soliciting a prostitute right underneath one of the billboards.
While it is laudable that fines collected as a public morals nuisance violation shall, according to Chapter 58 Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions, Section 58-167 of the Cook County Code,” be deposited in the Women’s Justice Services Fund established by County Ordinance and shall be used to fund rehabilitation services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment services, provided by and through the Sheriff’s Office Department of Women’s Justice Services,” the money collected will be miniscule compared to what is needed. So what is the solution? Street walkers sell their bodies for small amounts of money because they desperately need it, mostly to fund a drug habit. We have to address the addiction issue to try to stop illegal prostitution. High class call girls sell their bodies for large amounts of money because men are willing to pay big bucks if the woman is beautiful and perceived to be cultured. If prostitution were made legal nationally, as it is in certain areas of Nevada, then the financial incentive of pimps would be removed and the health issues addressed. I see nothing wrong with exchanging cash for sex. It happens every day “legally” in dating relationships, marriages and domestic partnerships. We all know what we are; it is just determining the price that separates a hooker from a wife. Prostitution is always defined as the “world’s oldest profession,” but I think that is an incorrect assessment. If you define a profession as "exchange of money for services,” then the banking profession would have had to pre-exist prostitution, since bankers invented the money.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CHERRY-PICKING YOUR RESEARCH

When I started writing this blog the topic was going to be about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the survey they had conducted about drinking and driving attitudes and behaviors. Since the survey found that “20% of the public 16 and older had in the past year driven a motor vehicle within two hours of drinking alcohol,” I was going to delve into statistics on drunk driving and the number of people killed or injured because of DUI’s. I was going to quote the survey where it reported “an estimate of 17.2 million drivers having driven one or more times in the preceding 12 months when they thought they were over the legal limit for alcohol and driving.“ I was then going to make a vow that I would give up smoking if everybody else gave up drinking. That was before I became aware of another statistical story about drinking. Blog follower Deborah sent me the most ludicrous story ever from time.com (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2014332,00.html) about how alcohol abstention is harmful for one’s longevity, I have decided you drinkers are not worthy of my making any personal sacrifice. Research, polls and surveys can pretty much be orchestrated to produce the results that the conductor wants. Word a question to say, “Do you believe in killing babies by paralyzing a woman’s cervical muscle, inserting a hollow tube with a knife-like edge into the uterus and tearing the baby’s body into pieces that are then sucked out through the tube with a vacuum?” One would answer, “No.” The same answer could be expected to whether it is okay to kill babies by a doctor inserting a curette, a loop-shaped steel knife, up into the uterus, cutting the placenta and baby into pieces and then scraping them out into a basin. The respondent would probably think that these tortuous death methods were too digesting to hear about and were only committed by some barbaric culture. But ask people if they support a woman’s right to have an abortion and they, unfortunately to me, will say, “Yes.” It is all in the wording.
According to the Time.com story, “A new paper in the Journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.” So with this research: drinkers can now justify their habit, it makes them live longer. Alcoholics have a reason to rejoice and say, “I told you so.” The story also reports that, “even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.” Does this mean that those of us who abstain because we find the true results of drinking lead to domestic violence, verbal abuse, automobile accidents, loss of job, cirrhosis, etc. are wrong? We should drink because supposedly we will live longer? BS!! One of the most astounding, stupid conclusions in the report was that, “One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health.” While I agree that social interaction is important, if one has to drink to be convivial then the “front” that one is presenting while drinking is not the true person one is. Is that the way people really want to characterize themselves? As a drunk?
Alcoholics can cherry-pick their research and will refer to this study for the next 100 years to rationalize their alcoholic consumption. John Cloud, the reporter on the Time article, concluded his story with, “That said, the new study provides the strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you. So make mine a double.” I am repulsed by his flippant words. I conclude with, “Make mine a Diet Coke because I won’t kill anybody after drinking and driving.”