Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Mini-Riot" Follow Up

Someone asked that we throw up an open post to further discuss the "mini-riot" in 011. We've also noticed a boatload of hits coming our way from the Fire Department's unofficial website because it was related to some of our correspondents that a "Big Wheel" in CFD related that CFD would be refusing calls for service in the area of the rioting due to safety issues. We can't say we blame them.

Have at it. Keep it clean. Regular rules apply.

One Year!

Happy Birthday to Us!
An entire year of blogging. It certainly doesn't feel like a year, but the archive page says we posted for the first time on 31 May 2005, so it must be a year. Over 1,100 posts, almost 340,000 visitors and well over 1.5 million page views. What a run it's been. Thanks to everyone who contributes, posts, comments, e-mails, chats us up and so on. We wouldn't do it without readers. Let's keep it going.

We Encourage Darwinism

BASE jumpers are usually among the more daring of daredevils. The routinely break the law in search of taller and more thrilling areas to jump from. But in Boise, Idaho there is a bridge that is the ONLY location in the country that jumpers don't have to get a permit to leap from. And now, they've had 4 accidents in 4 days:
  • A California woman died Monday after her parachute failed to deploy during a 486-foot leap from a bridge that is the among world's most popular BASE jumping locations.

    The 34-year-old woman is the third person to die since 2002 after jumping from the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River on U.S. Highway 93 near Twin Falls.

Here's a picture of the bridge. Nice shot, but jumping off it? Not even on a bet.


Don't Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight?

  • ATLANTA (AP) - A former Marine used a pocket knife to fend off a group of would-be robbers, killing one and wounding another, police said. Thomas Autry, who authorities said will not be charged, had been walking home from his job waiting tables Monday night when four people got out of a car and chased him, Atlanta police detective Danny Stephens said.

    One of the attackers had a shotgun and another had a pistol, Stephens said. The suspects caught up with Autry, who yelled for help and pulled a knife out of his backpack. He kicked the shotgun out of one of the attacker's hands and stabbed both a 17-year-old girl who jumped on him and a man who also attacked him.

    The suspects fled in their car but police found them later at a hospital where the girl was pronounced dead. The man stabbed in the incident was in critical condition, Stephens said.

The four perps have TWO guns, the ex-Marine has a knife. Priceless.

Quick Hits

(posting early to avoid the rush. What rush? Don't ask us, we just know if you start early, you avoid it.)
  • Cubs for sale? Not likely. It's a cash cow for the Tribune company and according to the statistics, newspapers are bleeding money nationwide. Why sell your most profitable entity? But if they were for sale, Mark Cuban is interested.
  • The mayor wants to provide Internet access to everyone. For free. And he wants private industry to pay for it. Call us cynical, but how does someone expect the private sector to pay for something this huge and not give them some shot at profit? Someone better look at any subcontractors involved with this, because either the private sector is going to get hosed or the taxpayers are ... again.
  • A Libertyville teen dies while drag racing his brother. Though the dead teen collided with at least two other cars on the way to his own demise, no one else was seriously injured by his stupidity. A future Darwin Award nominee we are sure.
  • One of the original "teflon" politicians passed on this weekend. In addition to all of the political posts he held, George Dunne ran Near North Insurance, which collapsed a few years ago following Michael Segal's conviction of looting $30 million, emerged unscathed from a racetrack buying scandal that sent Governor Otto Kerner to prison, dumped Jane Byrne from the County Committee (triggering her run for mayor) and was among the first to back Harold Washington to save the Machine.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just About the Stupidest Idea Ever

We heard this little gem on WBBM Radio Sunday morning - the only trouble is we can't seem to find a link to it in any of our news links. Did anyone else hear this? Can anyone find a link to it? Because we'd like to fry whoever came up with this idea. The Chicago Police Department is preparing to take out full page ads in the major newspapers telling people that there is "bad" heroin making the rounds on the streets of the City.

Excuse us? WTF?!?! A few points here:
  1. All heroin is bad. All of it is poison. It doesn't matter if someone is tainting it with fentanyl or whatever - it will kill you eventually.
  2. Who cares? Suffice it to say junkies probably contribute more to the rising property crime rate, petty crime and drug turf wars than the next few factors combined. Screw them.
  3. Full page ads cost somewhere between $30,000 and $45,000 if we recall. We can think of a bunch of better places to use that money than pretending to care about drug addicts.
  4. How many junkies are actually going to read these full page ads? We're thinking of a number between zero and none. If a junkie has 50 cents, he isn't looking to buy a daily paper - he's wondering where he can get another $9.50 for his next hit.
How about the Department gives us the tens of thousands they're going to spend on ads that won't reach a single junkies and we'll drive around in the squad car with the PA system running a tape loop that says "Drugs are bad. Stop taking drugs." It would accomplish exactly as much.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Don't know how we missed this story (from TaxProf Blog). Go read it all, you might be owed money:
  • The Treasury Department and IRS announced this morning (25 May 06) that after losing in five circuit courts of appeals, the Government is throwing in the towel and will no longer seek to enforce the 3% excise tax on long-distance telephone calls enacted during the Spanish-American War of 1898 as a "luxury" tax on wealthy Americans who owned telephones. The IRS will issue $15 billion in refunds to consumers for long-distance telephone service taxes paid over the past three years
You know what this means? We FINALLY kicked Spain's ass! USA! USA! USA!

Congratulations CPS Graduates!

  • Illinois School Supt. Randy Dunn on Wednesday recommended canceling most--but not all--of the state's contract with testing giant Harcourt Assessment after the company failed to deliver high-stakes tests on time to schools.

    The problems led nearly 200 districts to delay testing 3rd through 8th graders this spring and ignited a furor in Springfield, where lawmakers lambasted Harcourt and the Illinois State Board of Education, which oversees state testing.

    Legislators questioned everything from whether the results would be valid to why a lobbyist connected to Gov. Rod Blagojevich was involved in helping Harcourt win the $45 million contract in 2004.

According to sources of ours, as a result of this debacle, every single CPS student will be promoted this term. That's right, Social Promotions are back with a vengence. Not only that, but since everyone passes, there WON'T be any summer school this year! At least that's what teacher friends of ours are saying is the current rumor sweeping the halls of CPS land.

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Mini-Riot" in 011?

Seems the 011th District had some small problems last night. The citizens began double and triple parking up and down Madison Avenue from Garfield Park all the way into the 015th District and set up some sort of "cruising zone." And then it got out of control. Fights started breaking out, at least 3 fires were set in nearby stores, shots were fired and general mayhem ensued. And then the biggest crime of all:

No news coverage.

Imagine that. The rumors of a squad car being torched appear to be just that - rumors. The car over heated and burned and was not criminal in nature. But still, a few hundred "citizens" fighting and burning buildings? Why wouldn't the media cover that? Any 011th District personnel care to comment?

Memorial Day 2006

From CoxandForkum.com:

Please remember those who have served, are serving, or have served and given the ultimate sacrifice for this country and her citizens. Especially remember those Chicago Police very far from home this Memorial Day. Drop them a line if you can or check on their families. A small gesture goes a long way.

UPDATE: Rue St. Michel has a post up too. As do most of our links. Surf around. Visit and appreciate what we have in this country.

And Speaking of Wasted Money

We know exactly how to save the City another $390,000 dollars a year:
  • Trevor Hall is used to the inquisitive looks he gets after telling people what he does for a living. "I'll say, 'I work for Chicago Sister Cities International Program,' " Hall said. Their response: "What's that?" [evidently a waste of almost $400,000 - SCC]

  • About $390,000 of the budget comes in the form of a grant from the city's coffers and the tourism department. "We get a small amount from the city each year and it's applied for, not assumed," Hall said. "The rest we go out and raise. We're a great value for the city of Chicago.
If they can raise the other $720,000 dollars through private contributions (their entire budget is around $1.1 million), they might be able to increase their efforts and cover the $390,000 the City taxpayers generously come up with. Or they can cut staffing. And this is just a tiny portion of the tens of millions that Chicago wastes every year.

Not Insanity - A Sickness

The Cubs manage to draw the biggest crowd in almost 30 years to the ballpark Sunday and do it while dropping their 21st game in 25 tries. Why do people keep showing up to watch a loser? At least when the Blackhawks went downhill, we stopped going to games (though we follow from afar on radio, away games and on line). We just don't feel like giving our money to Bill Wirtz. What are Cubs fan's excuses?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday Read

You want to see the Republicans taken to the woodshed and beaten with a large stick? Read Mark Steyn in today's Sunday Sun Times.
  • All the GOP had to do was keep out of the way and let Jefferson and his Dem defenders skate across the thin ice like Tonya Harding with her lumpy tights full of used twenties. It was a perfect story: No Republicans need be harmed in the making of this scandal.

    So what does Hastert do? He and the House Republican leadership intervene in the case on behalf of the Democrat: They're strenuously objecting to the FBI having the appalling lese majeste to go to court, obtain a warrant and search Jefferson's office.

And it gets better from there.

A Very Cool Picture

Say what you will about this City, it's politics, it's residents and it's employees - it still takes a damn nice photo:

The buildings lit up in blue and the CPD logo and hat band on the left and star number on the right. This and other photos are over at the CPD Memorial website.

Blame the Police Again

  • "We look forward to a complete and thorough review," the family said in a statement released through attorney Jeffrey Singer. "We wish to learn why our daughter was not given access to mental health care while she was revealing erratic behavior to the Chicago Police Department at the time of her arrest and while in police custody as is required by the department's policies and procedures."
For all the heat we gave (and will continue to give) the Superintendent over the sign controversy, we did give him his props over the Meeks incident. He conducted a thorough investigation and properly cleared the Sergeant of any wrong doing (at least as far as the profiling - the naughty language rap was a bit much).

Just for starters on this incident, do we know that phone calls from this woman's family got anywhere NEAR where she was locked up? And then there is the fact that we are simply not trained to be able to reliably recognize subtle clues that might lead to a proper diagnosis of mental illness. As a bi-polar individual, perhaps this woman was on the downside of a mood swing when she was arrested and then leveling out or on the upswing when she was bailed out at a completely different station with officers who never saw her on the downside. Probably the only people who saw her for more than 60 or 90 minutes were the people working the female lockup at 51st Street - no time at all to be able to make any kind of judgment as to her mental state or capacity.

So here's to hoping that the arresting officers, who may have had her for all of 90 minutes to process her, the transport officers (if they were different) who had her for maybe 40 minutes tops, and the lockup personnel who may have had her for 6 to 8 hours (but only checking on her every 15 minutes) while her prints cleared don't get caught up in some witch hunt.

And god help us if we have to start releasing prisoners only in neighborhoods that match their skin tone and transport people to bus stations, taxi stands, train depots and airports to get them out of the City.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

We Play Karl Rove

We aren't political geniuses like the aforementioned Rove, but we know a golden opportunity when we see one. And we see a BIG one right about know for Tony Peraica.

For those of you who don't know, Peraica is the Republican challenger for the Cook County Board Presidency. According to the Sun Times, he recently made an appearance in front of John Stroger's home which has been sold, leading to growing speculation that Stroger is unable to fulfill his duties on the Board and may be on the verge of being eased out of the spot. Appearing in front of a sick man's home, even if he isn't there, seems a bit unappealing. But then we were struck with a sudden thought: Start demanding debates.

Not just debates, but LOTS of debates. One a month minimum until election day. Stroger isn't going to show up and the Machine won't be able to react fast enough to field a viable candidate to counter the events. Have Peraica unilaterally announce a debate schedule, have him show up, have him present his case and answer questions, and never mention the Stroger absence except in passing. Voters, especially suburban voters, will get the message - Stroger can't do it.

We are brilliant.

Small Problem Becomes BIG Problem

Quite a few people we know have gotten tickets they don't deserve. Even we've gotten one or two. We're we wrong? Sure, some of the time. Were the ticket writers wrong? Sure, some of the time. Everyone is wrong sometimes. Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not. And when you get caught, you try to reason with the ticket writer or you suck it up and pay the fine. If you're a real glutton for punishment, you go through the appeals process which is so stacked against you, it almost makes sense to pay the fine.

We weren't at the scene. We didn't read any of the reports. As far as we can tell, we don't know any of the players. All we have to go on are this blog (which isn't always the most accurate source of information) and the media (which are always going to portray police in a bad light). You see our dilemma?

If the Officer was using his personal car to respond to some call for service, then the traffic aide is completely in the wrong and ought to have non-suited the ticket. We know there are cops that work Loop Traffic and use their own cars to get to their posts just like there are foot and school officers who take personal cars to their posts. We've always wondered what happens if you wreck your own car or have it damaged by offenders (or have it ticketed) when you aren't using a city owned vehicle. Is the city covering it?

If the Officer wasn't using it for a call for service, but rather shopping or whatever, than he is wrong. If they can't reason with the aide or a supervisor (police or traffic aide), go through the appeals or pay the fine. Arresting someone seems a bit extreme. You want to get revenge? Turnabout. See all those cars with the M&M wrapper in the front window parked illegally around the Loop? Hmm.

Just our opinion. We're willing to listen to other options if you've got them.

And the New Price is ...

Incredible. The mayor and aldercreatures crying "poor" at every turn, especially around contract time, and then this little item in the Sun Times:
  • The cost to build a new Kennedy-King College campus in Englewood has jumped to $254 million -- or $62 million more than originally estimated, officials confirmed Wednesday
  • Gayles said the original $192 million estimate was clearly low, noting that only one company bid on part of the project in 2004, and even then the bid was rejected because it was considered $30 million too high.
Who the hell bids these things? The Feds ought to be having a field day on City contracts alone. Almost a 30% increase from the base price? We know a lot of people in the contracting business. Everyone works a 10% difference or so into their bids to allow for fluctuations in the prices of gasoline, labor issues, bribes, etc. It's a fact of contracting. But these City contracts make the Outfit look like pikers. 30% is insane. Why didn't anyone (oh we dunno) LOCK IN A GODDAMN PRICE FOR DRYWALL when they started this thing years ago? Or copper tubing? Or mechanicals? Why is it always the taxpayers (you and us) getting the shaft on these things? When is enough going to be enough? Anytime soon?

It's the Economy Stupid

First Quarter growth at 5.3%, a very big jump, but not big enough to spark inflation fears. Although slightly below expectations of a 5.7% prediction, it is still the biggest jump in two and a half years.

Now if Bush and Rove can pull off some sort of immigration reform, November will be tolerable for the Republicans.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Open Post

Rant, Rave, Review. Have at it people. We need material for the weekend, so knock your socks off.

Shots Fired in Washington DC

Here's our initial reaction:
  • Someone in Washington DC wanted to start the holiday weekend early, so they made a single anonymous phone call resulting a lockdown of most of the Congressional Office Buildings. "Gee whiz boss, I couldn't get to work, so I stayed home and made some phone calls to make sure all of you were safe."
Here's Channel 2's headline on their website:
Our initial reaction to that headline? Who cares? Does that make us bad people?

More coverage at Channel 5, Channel 7 and Breitbart.

Laughing Stock of the Nation

First, the City Council sticks their beaks (haha) in the whole "foie gras" debacle, banning something that was eaten by about 500 people in the whole metro area. If there wasn't a market for it, chefs would've stopped serving it - let the market decide, not the Aldercreatures.

Then a few weeks ago, the City Council decided that loud parties would be next on the hit list:
  • It would require live music or electronically generated noise emanating from "any private open space" between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. to be no "louder than an average conversational level at a distance of 100 feet" from the property line. That's roughly four city lots away -- and a compromise from Suarez's original proposal of 75 feet after 9 p.m.

    If police officers can hear the noise from 100 feet away, they would be empowered to write costly tickets: $300 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense within a one-year period and $1,000 for the third violation within that year.

A worthy idea, but unless we get manpower, an essentially fruitless endeavor. And now, the Aldercreatures have really jumped into the realm of insanity with their latest:
  • Aldermen determined to restore peace and tranquility to Chicago neighborhoods introduced a pair of killjoy crackdowns Wednesday -- one establishing a 10-minute time limit on dogs barking outdoors, the other empowering police to impound ice cream trucks that play music after 7 p.m.
Barking dogs? Someone better notify that sergeant at the Animal Abuse Unit. Impounding ice cream trucks? QUICK! Anyone remember how to inventory perishable goods contained within such an impound (if we recall correctly, it was on the Sergeant's test in 1998). With the "Project Safe Summer" and uptick in shootings, killings and the like, is anyone seriously going to be giving any thought to loud parties, barking dogs or ice cream trucks? These aldercreatures are hilarious. Thank goodness we've solved school funding, Hired Truck, patronage hiring and everything else going on that we can devote time to these monumental social ills.

More and More Cameras

Does it mean less and less police officers? The results are in for the new "scanner" camera vans:
  • The Chicago Police Department plans to expand their latest high-tech crime fighting tool -- cameras that can scan thousands of licenses plates an hour. [...] Officers who field tested the scanners during the past two months have made 14 arrests and recovered more than 100 stolen cars. The department plans to add 13 more of these license plate scanning vehicles to patrol around the city.
100 cars but only 14 arrests? We guess they didn't get the driver too often then. The biggest beef we've heard with this vehicle is that they have had to have a separate car assigned to them to do the recovery paper and arrests. We don't know if that's going to change with more of them on the streets, but it would seem a bit inefficient at the moment. Is that going to change?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Free Suggestion

We've heard that a good idea can result in a good spot, an award and even a promotion. As we aren't glory hounds and value our anonymity, we present this suggestion to everyone. Whoever can steal it, write it up and present it in a manner befitting a halfway decent proposal can have all the glory and praise for themselves. And we along with the other readers of the website can talk about you behind your back about what a thief you are taking credit for an idea that wasn't even yours.

How about instead of just doing these random traffic checkpoints with coppers in BDU's, Troopers and Sheriffs you expand it a little bit? Beef up the Traffic Section a bit, make them work straight afternoons for a while, team them up with a ready made supply of coppers (TRU for instance?) and train them up to do massive impounds. Everything you can impound for, you do it.
  • Guns? Dope? Fireworks? Done.
  • Loud Music or DUI? Our car now.
  • Curfew or Minors violating license restrictions? Check.
  • Improper registration/wrong plates? He gone.
  • Suspended/no insurance? Hope you like walking.
Do a zero tolerance one or three days a week in a few of these gang hot spots and DOC areas and we'll eliminate half the drive-bys and a quarter of the dope traffic. You want disruption? Take away their wheels. And not some half assed weekend version - full blown enforcement. Have the tow trucks lined up somewhere. New York's "Broken Window" theory gone wild. And just to make it interesting - make impound court like it used to be - multiple calls, mandatory appearances (ka-ching!) and start making cubes out of all these cars. You'll probably be saving the environment at the same time with some of these emissions suspensions.

What say the readers?

Someone Fess Up Please

Cook County Board President John Stroger hasn't been seen since 02 March when he suffered a stroke and now the family home has been sold. Channel 2 reports Stroger's son (who has been pushing himself as a viable candidate for his dad's position) was completely unaware that the house was for sale. When questioned about Stroger's ability to continue to lead, Aldercreature William Beavers immediately cried "racism!"
  • "Mayor Daley, old man Daley, was sick for a year. They wouldn't even whisper about taking that job. It's disrespectful to talk about replacing John Stroger," Ald. William Beavers said. "It's always a double standard with black folks and white folks."
Maybe it's just wanting to know if someone can do the job anymore. Stroger had a good run, played his cards right, kept his mouth shut in the Machine, got to award friends and family hundreds of millions in no-bid contracts and set up his son in an Aldercreature spot.

Someone reading here has to know the truth - is Stroger done? Because if he ends up winning after not even being seen for 9 months, then THAT is pretty sad. Let's get our rumormill running here.

Another Plot?

We noted a few weeks ago that Aldercreatures have essentially removed themselves from any sort of oversight by writing into law that the Inspector General CANNOT investigate Aldercreatures. So we are more than happy to see the Feds in City Hall taking it apart slimeball by slimeball. We figure it's only a matter of time until they get an aldercreature or three - it's the nature of the beast.

Now we've been reading about a Louisiana Congressman who is ON TAPE accepting a $100,000 bribe from an FBI informant. The Congressman (or Congress-creature) refuses his own Party's demands that he resign (he's a democrat) and one of his loudest defenders is the House Speaker - republican Dennis Hastert. And Hastert's argument? That the FBI overstepped it's bounds by using a search warrant on the Congressman's home and office.

We think we may detect the hand of Karl Rove in all this! (bear with us). The only people with LOWER approval ratings than the President is Congress. So Rove gets the Executive Branch law enforcement arm to hook up a dirty Congress-weasel, gets the Speaker of the House to claim this is a violation of the "Separation of Powers" (which it isn't), democrat and republican Congress-weasels unite behind a "We're ABOVE the law" platform, and Bush's ratings start to climb again. All politics is local, so there aren't going to be too many House races that are going to hinge on this little dust up and the republicans maintain control of both houses by riding Bush's momentum. It's Brilliant!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Operation Safe Summer?

OK, which wise acre down at Fort Kool-Aid came up with this one?

WBBM News Radio (no link) and Channel 2 News are reporting that County Sheriffs and State Troopers are going to be teaming up with CPD Gang/Tact/specialized units and running large scale traffic checkpoints and other various "crime disruption" type strategies supported by some of the new "scanner" vans and what looks like heavy weapons teams all while dressed in those intimidating (and extra comfy) BDU's.

And a few of our readers have already informed us that the Department will be pulling police out of the slower districts once again, depriving thousands of tax paying citizens of exactly what makes their parts of town livable. Are they ever going to get around to actually (A) hiring enough people to cover what needs to be covered and (B) emptying out overstaffed buildings like headquarters in order to man the cars? Just curious.

Don't Give up on Your Dreams

Sarcasm and Silliness Alert (for everyone reading who seems to lack a sense of humor lately): From Yahoo News:
  • VILNIUS, Lithuania - Lithuanian police were so astonished by a breath test that registered 18 times the legal alcohol limit, they thought their device must be broken. It wasn't. Police said Tuesday 41-year-old Vidmantas Sungaila registered 7.27 grams per liter of alcohol in his blood repeatedly on different devices after he was pulled over Saturday for driving his truck down the center of a two-lane highway 60 miles from the capital, Vilnius. Lithuania's legal limit is 0.4 grams per liter.

EIGHTEEN TIMES the legal limit! Wow! Don't let this guy near the open bar! We aren't sure of the conversion niceties, but the article further states that 3.5 grams per liter is usually fatal. If we recall, .45 BAC is usually considered fatal stateside, so this guy probably would have blown a .90 or so. We have GOT to party with this guy - no driving though.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades for the story.

Traffic Enforcement

And speaking of traffic enforcement, does the Department have a viable Traffic Enforcement philosophy?

Yes, there are a few traffic cars that float around Lake Shore Drive and the Skyway. But they are few and far between and have something like 2 working radar guns that are 20 years old that only work on alternate weekdays and probably leak radiation like Chernobyl. Mover books are used mostly to justify probable cause for other things. TSSS and other paperwork only serves to discourage traffic stops and Traffic Cameras are taking away other enforcement opportunities. DUI's are a specialty and so many other violations are now parkers rather than movers so as to cut down on court time and appeals. And now we're hearing about the City getting it's OWN enforcement vans?

We were reviewing some of the comments that Vi Daley had made and were comparing the manpower numbers that we are short. What is it about people named "Daley" talking out of their asses all the time?

A New Twist on an Old Tale

Now the governor wants to start selling stuff. Like the entire Illinois Lottery. But don't worry - it's all to benefit the schools!
  • The state's neediest school districts could get $6 billion over the next four years under a plan unveiled by Gov. Blagojevich today that would rely on selling or leasing the state lottery.
Haven't we heard this one before? Where the lottery money is supposed to all go into the General Fund and all our school worries will be over? That worked out really well, didn't it? Or how about the one where all the Riverboat licenses would solve all our problems along with the taxes on money the consortiums took in? That also worked out really well. Tribune, Times, Channel 2, Channel 5, Channel 7 coverage.

Have any real media outlets with the financial and investigative skills at their disposal ever tried to do a real bit of journalism and maybe investigate why every time Illinois politicians claim they're going to fix the school funding problems, we end up screwed and their buddies end up rich? Frank? Fran? Mark? John? Little help?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Watch Yourself on the Dan Ryan

Yes, the camera vans are finally upon us. Two of them are going to be in the Dan Ryan construction area for the next few months. The fine for speeding through the construction area is $375 for the first offense and $1,000 PLUS a suspended license for the second. The cameras are taking pictures of the plates and the drivers. Stories in the Tribune and Sun Times.

What we'd REALLY like to see however, is how many cars DON'T come back to the addresses and drivers that are photographed. The failure rate for deliverable citations is going to be rather high we think. How about some of our Trooper readers keep us informed of that little statistic?

In the meantime, we'd advise you to take steps to avoid getting a large hit in the wallet. Obey the law, avoid the Ryan, and maybe get one of these:

Media Slander

We noticed in a comment section that a certain citizen was actually blaming the police for the little girl getting run over by Lincoln Park Zoo. Not only does this speak to the ignorance of the citizenry of our fair city, it also belies the underlying hostility the media in general has toward the police that they would actually air this crap. Kind of like reporters finding the loudest and most obnoxious "witness" or close "relative" of various offenders who were shot by the police in justifiable incidents and then airing the most completely vile and erroneous slanders about "unarmed," "shot in the back," or "completely innocent."

When the Revolution comes and we finish off all the lawyers, the only reason we won't have done the media FIRST is because we need them to broadcast to the world what will befall anyone who attempts to become a lawyer in the future. Too bad no one will be around to record what we do to the media afterwards.

Another Meme Bites the Dust

Remember New Orleans? Katrina? All George Bush's fault according to the left. But once again, the truth comes out months later and the media gives it a little play while not correcting any of the initial misreporting:
  • New Orleans' levee system was routinely underfunded and therefore inadequate to protect against hurricanes, according to an independent report released Monday.
  • The report also called for an overhaul of the agencies that oversee flood protection. It took aim at Congress for its piecemeal funding over the past 50 years, and at state and local levee authorities for failing to properly oversee maintenance of the levees.
  • the Corps used cheap material sand instead of clay. According to investigators, the foundation for the levee walls were in some places just 13 feet deep they should have been 60. [all emphasis added - SCC]
So someone please explain why Bush is to blame for 50 years of underfunding AND actually following Federal Law by not interfering with state and local maintenance issues?

The Slow Demise of the AFL-CIO

We predicted it months ago in some of our earlier postings - the 700,000 members of the Laborers' Union severed ties with the AFL-CIO and threw in with the "Change to Win" coalition. They join numerous other building trades who thought the AFL-CIO spent to much time campaigning for national candidates instead of building union membership.

Little things like this give us hope that November won't be the disaster it's shaping up to be.

Monday, May 22, 2006

FOP Lawsuit

Someone referred us to Sun Times story today about two officers who are suing the FOP:
  • Two former Fraternal Order of Police members have sued the union, claiming they were kicked out for speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times and another newspaper about underreported salaries in the union's 2003 charitable organization report to the state.
We know of both of the individuals suing the FOP. Both have appeared in various comment threads here and both have reached out to contact us on occasion. Anyone know anything about this or care to comment? We remember there was a large stink on the old SCCN Bulletin Board regarding a bunch of this. And something to do with the 2001 (?) campaign for the FOP.

The Sopranos Update

Sorry this is late. We thought we hit the "POST" button before we closed out the browser, but we guess not.

Finally.

Finally a GOOD episode. Probably the first good episode since the beginning of the season. The story moved, the interaction between the people was great - all in all, the best episode of the season, which isn't really a high hurdle to clear when you look at the whole season, but it is what it is.

Finally got rid of one storyline. Two deserved whackings. Looks like Sil is pushing Tony to war and we have ideas about who the victims are going to be. We'll bet money on Phil Leotardo and Paulie Walnutsare casualties. Anyone else want to take a stab (haha) at anyone? Carmela's budding realization that Adrianna is dead (not hiding) and that Tony's crew probably had something to do with it is a welcome twist (unlike the Vito Spatafore storyline). This attack of conscience, combined with her recent travels to Europe (Italy to see the Vatican and France) make us wonder if she's going to finally bolt Jersey. And Anthony Jr. finally getting a little taste of reality - but did he actually go to work is our question?

Now there is a one week break before the last episode of Part 1 of this season. The eight final episodes are coming up in Spring of 2007.

Burge Report Coming Out

Batten down the hatches people. The Burge Report is going to be released, probably within the next two weeks and it could spell big trouble for quite a few people.

First of all, there's Burge. Second, there's a whole bunch of people who worked with and for Burge, some of who are still on the job. This could be the proverbial brick on a number of careers. Although the statute of limitations will protect some, there is no statute of limitations on Official Misconduct (but parts of that law didn't exist back when some of the alleged offenses took place - we'll bet the lawyers have a fun time with this one).

Third is the fact that the current mayor was the State's Attorney when a whole boatload of these cases made it through the court system. He was also an integral part of what was left of The Machine while it fought a series of holding actions against minority mayors. There is a potentially huge liability issue here for the Department, City Hall and the State's Attorney office and given the Mayor's propensity for throwing people off (and under) the bus when the heat gets to be too much, we might be looking at a long series of lawsuits either being settled or dragged out for a number of years.

Shootings up Again?

Earlier this month, we speculated that homicides and shootings were on the way up. A reader pointed out that the homicide rate was actually under last years total by a little bit, but we don't recall if Aggravated Batteries were determined to be higher than last year. Judging by the Sunday paper, we'd surmise that Agg Batts were up, and up quite a bit:
We aren't sure if this is (A) a continuation of "If it Bleeds, it Leads" type reporting from the Sun Times (B) proof positive that Agg Batts are up and we are on the cusp of a really hot summer, or (C) more effort by the media to make people THINK crime is up by publishing every single incident that occurs, no matter how serious or not.

Judging from these headlines, is just about all gangbangers and drunks harming each other. But it lends credence to the illusion that crime is up, rather than down - at least locally.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why Immigration is a HOT Topic

You want to know why illegal immigration has become such a hot button topic all of the sudden?
  • Roughly 10 percent of Mexico's population of about 107 million is now living in the United States, estimates show. About 15 percent of Mexico's labor force is working in the United States. One in every 7 Mexican workers migrates to the United States.
10%? That's insane. Just about the entire Vincente Fox economy is based on money people send THERE from HERE. Combined with the very real threat of terrorist infiltration by lax border security and the failure of this (and previous) Administrations to do anything substantive about enforcement, we are in what could be charitably described as a very bad situation. And now, you have this added to the mix:
  • The Senate voted yesterday to allow illegal aliens to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment -- even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents.
So, a shaky Social Security system is about to start paying benefits to people who probably broke numerous laws to obtain unlawful employment, because ... why again? We've got some serious problems people and no one on either side has any answers they're willing to live with.

Thanks to Right Wing News and The Other Side of Kim for the story links.

Sunday Steyn - Immigration

Go. Read. Learn.

The guy has a knack for summarizing all points. He'll change your entire outlook.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Speaking of Books

We read "The DaVinci Code" when it came out a year or two ago. We thought that was a pretty good book too. But the movie coming out now got panned pretty badly over in Europe. And now it's getting spanked nationwide.

We're still wondering when the Catholics are going to start turning over cars, throw rocks at the police and begin cutting off the heads of non believers to express their displeasure at the mocking of their religion.

Or are we thinking of the wrong people here?

We Read a Book!

We did something we rarely do the other day - we bought a book, and then we read it. And we thought it was actually pretty good. The book was mentioned in our comments section a few weeks back (which is how we found out about it). It's called "Out of Cabrini" and it's written by CPD Sergeant David Case. We did a little searching online and found this review in the Sun Times and some other reviews at Amazon.com.

We don't claim to be the brightest bulbs in the drawer and we don't think we could never write a book (we deal in short story formats here) but this was actually entertaining. The police characters are familiar to us as cops and the gangs (gangster disciples, mickey cobras) are actually gangs we've dealt with and (on a technical level) are actually properly represented geographically. We've worked in some of these places and the author does a good job describing them.

Reading can be fun (our public service announcement for the day).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Prescience

Presenting Our Next Superintendent

Wow. Speculation is running rampant in various comments sections that Cline is retiring shortly and the anointed one is none other that the current Chief of Detectives. What do our readers know that we don't?

The move would make sense, historically speaking. How many of the last few Superintendents have come out of that spot? Or the Bureau of Investigative Services as a whole? And it would tie into certain stories we've heard bandied about that some parties have been asking neighbors if they'd mind an unmarked car parked in front of a certain residence 24/7, because when someone gets named Superintendent, that's what happens.

It would also fit into Daley's image as a ground breaker of sorts, appointing minorities to high profile positions. Daley would love to be known as the first mayor of a large urban area to have named a minority female to run a major department. And it would shore up his sagging poll numbers and liberal credentials in minority communities, especially in light of the recent indictments, trials and scandals of white Bridgeport mobsters getting "minority" status for lucrative contracts and the rest of the good ol' boy network getting rich.

What say you?

Residency Rule

To the person who keeps posting "LIFT THE RESIDENCY RULE" in the comments section, please read the following:
  • Residency is a STATE law. It is written along the lines of "Municipalities with a population of over 1,000,000..." can require residency within the corporate limits of the municipality.
  • As written, it applies to only ONE SINGLE city in the State of Illinois - Chicago.
  • If you go through our archives, you will see that we wrote about a Union meeting we attended (or might not have) where residency was declared "on the table." This is going to be a long fight as long as this mayor is in place.
While we appreciate your enthusiasm and support for actually lifting the rule, how about you direct your efforts to calling the FOP and seeing what kind of help they need in getting the rule lifted. Maybe you can make some phone calls. Maybe you can write some letters. Maybe you can register some voters who will pressure the Legislature to vote for the rule change (don't we have a couple of coppers IN the Legislature?).

Because, trust us on this one, you aren't going to change any laws posting here. We can't even get the FOP to read this site regularly, even when we write them letters.

Your Opinion - Weapons

We've often heard that the best way to win a gun battle is as follows:
  • more lead,
  • on target,
  • quicker.
Simple, right? The City on the other hand, is from the school that thinks more lead means more liability should a stray round hit an innocent bystander, so we are stuck with Double Action Only pistols and underpowered ammunition. A full trigger pull for every round which means wildly inaccurate shooting (our hit percentage is somewhere under 20% we heard once). Underpowered ammo means the rounds aren't penetrating and expanding as well as they could.

We realize the main reason that the City went to DAO was to defeat lawsuits in which the plantiff's witnesses all swore up and down that the police cocked the pistol before putting it up against the head of that poor little altar boy. That and trying to put a pistol away while still cocked might result in more than a few embarrassing incidents (which could be alleviated by a little more training). Our biggest beef is no safety on the weapon - you better pray no one gets a hold of your gun.

We have gotten the new "bonded" rounds that are supposed to hold their mass through car doors and windshields (a tiny step forward), but seriously - does anyone see us ever getting Double/Single weapons again? Or a .40 caliber weapon? Or more than once a year qualification?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Things Seen on the Public Way

From some of our friends over in the 012 District, this lovely front door on a building over in what we think is the "Tri-Taylor" area, right out in public for everyone to see. Does anyone have any idea what a door like this might cost because it looks like someone has way too much money.
Anyone else who has amusing photos that aren't of crime scenes, plane crashes or other such nonsense can fire them over to our e-mail. If interesting enough, we'll post them.

And for my next trick...

  • A man taking a break from painting burned down his house after trying to snuff out a cigarette in a bowl of paint thinner.

    Stevie Spencer had put the bowl on his coffee table before taking a smoke break about 10 p.m. Saturday.

    ''I forgot paint thinner was in the bowl,'' Spencer said. ''I thought it was water.''

The house was a total loss. Tomorrow, he's going to try to put out a cigar in a bowl of nail polish remover. And if he lives through that one, he can be seen flicking matches at a bucket of lantern fuel down at the trailer park this Saturday.

Busy - Light Posting

Posted late on 17 May for early 18 May:

A few of us are going to be busy for a bit here. Assorted things have come up that require attention, so blogging is going to be haphazard going into this weekend. In the meantime, use this as an open post. We will be posting (sporadically) over the next few days.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DAMNIT!!!

When are we going to learn? You'd think that after all these years of policing, the century and a half of collective knowledge that the Chicago Police Department has gathered, we would finally come to realize the ONE SINGLE ELEMENTAL TRUTH that exists in this city:

There are no guns on the West Side. That's right. Every single gun that police "find" on the West Side, every single one of them, was BROUGHT THERE BY THE POLICE!

As proof, we offer today's Sun Times article:
  • Markineta Harrington said she saw the shooting of her cousin Jovan Walker, 24.

    "[Walker] didn't have a gun. He just got out a jail a month ago -- he didn't have a job, how's he going to buy a gun?" she asked.

Far be it from us to suggest that the now deceased Jovan bought a gun selling dope. And we wouldn't dare suggest that Jovan "rented" a gun from one of the dope dealers who run that particular corner. And we'd never speculate that this gun may have been a "loaner" for the security of said corner. No, we'd never say that.

So you boys and girls over on the Wild West Side better be watching your steps. We'll bet a whole boatload of storefront reverends are onto your little game of bringing hundreds and hundreds of unregistered firearms to the West Side so you can use the poor, unemployed, recently paroled felons as target practice.

Candidates Bailing on Meeks

Reverend Meeks ticket is having trouble filling a few slots. It would appear that behind the scenes pressure is keeping some people from actually committing to running with Meeks' 3rd party ticket. On the bright side, this might derail and reduce some of Meeks power if he ends up backing off of a "credible" opposition type slate to the Blago ticket. On the other hand, no democratic fracture means the Illinois Republicans will remain in a minority status for another generation - and maybe not even then.

On the other hand, if Blago's office keeps coming up with these HUGE clout lists, maybe we won't need Meeks to split the dem vote. Our crystal ball is quite hazy at the moment - Republican tragedy in November doesn't necessarily translate into State-wide tragedy as there really isn't a national race to be concerned with.

Quick Hits

Just filling space people:
  • 150 pound catfish drags a Hungarian fisherman to his death. Who'd have thunk that fishing turns out to be an extreme sport?
  • An argument over citizenship leads to a shooting in North Carolina. We think this story, while unfortunate, will become more common place as the decade goes on. Passions are running deep over this issue.
  • Once again, the Laffer curve comes through. Cutting taxes INCREASES tax revenue! Tax receipts for the Federal government are running 11% AHEAD of last year. Now if Bush and company would stop spending money like drunken sailors, the deficit would be going down (yes, even while we're at war) and so would the national debt.
  • At least they got a CB#, right? Man dies while his bail is being posted at County Jail. Does anyone think the coppers will get a court date though?

Run Hillary Run!

It's things like this that give us hope that November won't be a complete disaster for the Right. From HumanEventsOnline.com:
  • On Thursday Sen. Clinton spoke ay the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention, where she criticized young whippersnappers for not wanting to work hard and for expecting everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.

    Said Hill: "Kids, for whatever reason, think they're entitled to go right to the top with $50,000 or $75,000 jobs when they have not done anything to earn their way up"… A lot of kids don't know what work is. They think work is a four-letter word." She also complained that "[w]e've got to send a different message to our young people. America didn't happen by accident. A lot of people worked really hard. They've got to do their part, too."

    Mrs. Clinton did not bother mentioning how her daughter Chelsea managed to snag a choice, six-figure consulting gig with a high-priced firm immediately after graduating from Oxford in 2003.
The Chicago Way on a National level. Run Hillary. Please?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Breaking News

011th District shooting. Cops OK, armed offender not. Details will no doubt be pouring in all night.

UPDATE: Channel 2 and Channel 7 with initial bare bones reports

Bad Dispatchers

We've gotten a couple letters over the past few weeks citing some instances where officers and supervisors are calling for assists and the dispatcher is cutting them off or ignoring them completely to get jobs out that happen to have gone over the limit.

This is asinine. This is stupid. This is dangerous.

You have a civilian dispatcher worried about some arbitrary time limit that is set by some other knucklehead who hasn't worked a beat car in years (if they ever worked a beat car in their lives). Stupid stupid stupid. Someone (hopefully, one of the retired bosses working down at OEMC as watch supervisors) can remind the civilians that the arbitrary time limits placed on certain types of jobs are just that - ARBITRARY. If it isn't "In Progress," a #1 priority job or a 10-1, it can wait if something else pops up on the zone.

If the City wants to clear the air for jobs, get us computers that work more than 50% of the time. Get us manpower on the streets to handle the volume we already have. And we hope that someone called the FOP to file a few safety grievances. Squeaky wheels get the grease. Squeak away people. Make it a training issue for dispatchers - they're messing with you going home in one piece.

Scumbag Lawyers Strike Again

The next big corruption trial is now underway and in the opening statements, this little gem:
  • "I think it is about the betrayal of normal prosecutive procedures to embarrass if not perhaps unseat with the help of the Chicago Tribune a very popular sitting mayor," [Sorich defense attorney] Durkin said.
The Prosecution objected and the judge said it was improper for an opening statement. But Durkin continued:
  • Durkin led jurors through the history of patronage over the last 50 years and capped it with the remark that "Richard J. Daley is on trial here." [Judge] Coar said that was improper as well.
So Sorich's defense is going to be similar to that of George Ryan's evidently. "This is the way Chicago (and Illinois) politics has been done for years. I was just doing what everyone else did for decades." Hopefully, it doesn't fly this time either.

More coverage at Channel 7, Channel 32 and the Sun Times.

County News

No, this isn't about Stroger and his son trying to become the next County Board President even though a number of power players are backing Danny Davis in a hilarious game of dividing the spoils of a man not yet dead.

No, we're hearing a LOT of interesting rumors over at the County Building. To wit:
  • the not yet revealed indictments of some big wigs over at the Training Division over misappropriated Federal monies
  • the sudden appointment of a new head of the jail by Sheahan even though (A) Sheahan's last appointment (Callie Baird of OPS fame) fell like a ton of bricks and (B) Sheahan isn't going to be sheriff in a few months.
  • the Supervisors over at the States Attorney's office have suddenly decided to unionize? And they've picked the National FOP to be their representation?
Sounds like County is having a bit of fun over on their half of the pond - they just manage to keep it under the radar.

A Shot in the Dark

But what the heck? The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is attempting to get in touch with as many relatives of our fallen as possible to let them know about the Memorial Wall at the new park.
  • Chicago Police Memorial Foundation officials are hoping to get in touch with the relatives of more than 500 slain officers to let them know their loved ones' names will be etched in the "sacrifice" wall of the new Gold Star Families Memorial and Park.

    So far, only 25 percent of the family members of the officers killed in the line of duty since 1854 have been contacted.
We know we have readers nationwide and the odd international visitor popping in (hello Albania, Britain, Canada and Australia). We also know that readers from numerous retiree organizations like the Chicago Police Association of Nevada stop by occasionally. If anyone knows the whereabouts of any kin who might be interested in the Gold Star Memorial Park, direct them to the link up top.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Interesting Rumor

Let's track it down!

From a comments section, someone related that the Superintendent had ordered a reduction in manpower at 35th Street. Everyone and their brother (and we mean EVERYONE) knows that HQ is notoriously overstaffed. There was something along the lines of a 20% cut floated a year or more ago. The actual number ended up being quite a bit less due to who knows what types of shenanigans, but HQ went along with nary a hiccup. They even manage to send people to "Operation Closed Market" and still generate enough makey-work to choke a stable of horses.

To us, that means they could easily cut another 20% before anyone downtown actually saw an upsurge in the amount of work they are expected to (or paid to) actually perform. Seriously. Plus, it would open up a bunch more parking spots in the lot.

Let's hear from Fort Koolaid. We KNOW we have quite a following down there. Any truth to the rumors?

Upsurge in Violence?

From Sunday's Sun Times:
All from Sunday's Sun Times. All gang related. Anyone have the homicide numbers for the year as compared to last year? Up or down? How about Aggravated Battery numbers year to year?

And is it true that the heroin deaths are being downgraded to death investigations? We know there's at least 30 detectives who read this site at Area 5. What's the word people?

Upsurge in Alligator Attacks?

THREE fatal alligator attacks in a week down Florida way. Just another reason to avoid that place like the plague - old folks that can't drive, oppressive humidity and hurricanes, alligators eating people on the streets.

Once upon a time, animals KNEW their place in the world. They were food, plain and simple. Sometimes they were clothes, but most of the time, they were food. Then came political correctness and an aversion to actual hunting by the more sensitive members of society (pansies and candyasses). They claim that animals had "rights" and "feelings" and other such nonsense. What the hell do we care if a fish has feelings? Or a pheasant? Or if a deer is anything more than tasty? Nowadays, deer are like rats with antlers, starving to death in the forest preserves because there are just too damn many of them. Wisconsin kills something like a quarter million deer a year and they still out number the cheeseheads something like 2 to 1. Michigan is even worse. Things are so bad that if the deer ever develop opposable thumbs and a capacity to manufacture firearms, the whole human race would be hard pressed to hold it's own. And along with the deer come the predators. We've referenced many reports on coyotes in the city - bears (not football Bears) are making a huge comeback in Wisconsin. New Jersey killed a bear last week that was wandering around Trenton. And mountain lions are drifting east into Iowa every day.

Animals are getting the feeling that they can just push us humans around and the alligators are just the latest symptom. Time to reestablish nature's pecking order before it's too late.

A Guy Who Get It - Again

If Mark Steyn's Sunday column isn't part of your weekly reading, it ought to be. Again this week, he points out that in order to connect the dots, you have to be able to see the dots. And seeing the dots is something the democrats are trying their damnedest to prevent anyone from doing.
  • Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) feels differently. "Look at this headline," huffed the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The secret collection of phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. Now, are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaida?"

    No. But next time he's flying from D.C. to Burlington, Vt., on a Friday afternoon he might look at the security line: Tens of millions of Americans are having to take their coats and shoes off! Are you telling me that tens of millions of ordinary shoe-wearing Americans are involved with al-Qaida?

    Of course not. Fifteen out of 19 of the 9/11 killers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. So let's scrap the tens of millions of law-abiding phone records, and say we only want to examine the long-distance phone bills of, say, young men of Saudi origin living in the United States. Can you imagine what Leahy and Lauer would say to that? Oh, no! Racial profiling!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Sopranos Update

OK, this show has officially jumped the shark. We don't know what David Chase has been hiring for writers, but this just isn't working. This is by far the most disappointing season ever. Only two more episodes.

And the LVPD Said "Heal!"

For being in "Sin City," Las Vegas PD certain has some miraculous type healing powers. MSNBC via Ace of Spades:
  • A wheelchair-bound Los Angeles woman, who has repeatedly filed lawsuits over access for the disabled, got up and ran after police arrested her for fraud, authorities said on Thursday. Laura Lee Medley, 35, had sued in at least four California cities over injuries she claimed she sustained while trying to navigate her wheelchair before she was suspected of fraud.
  • "“She gets to the hospital and while she'’s waiting for an examination, she gets up from the chair and runs,"” Mayes said. "“Somebody remarked, '‘That'’s where the great miracle occurred.'" ”Medley sprinted through the hospital corridors but was quickly apprehended by police and booked pending extradition to San Bernardino in Southern California, where she is facing charges of filing false documents, attempted grand theft and insurance fraud.
The miracle of modern policing - Vegas style.

The Fix Begins Again

More than a few years ago, the Department got rid of the Oral Boards for promotional exams. We aren't sure if there was a lawsuit involved, but essentially it was said that the Oral portion of promotional exams was unfair to some segments of the Department and was unfairly graded to show favoritism to certain connected persons.

Everyone has heard the stories about someone being #2 on the list after the machine graded portion of the exam and then dropping down hundreds of places following an appearance in front of the Board. Or that certain people knew the "catch phrases" that would get them higher placement, like "notify the Watch Commander" or "order a large pepperoni pizza." There must have been something to it as the City got away from the Boards for many years.

Oral Boards have made a reappearance for Lieutenant exams and Captain spots. Now we read that the "Latent Print Examiner" test coming up soon will be 75% test grade and 25% Oral Board. What possible point is there in conducting an Oral Board on a Latent Print Examiner? Seriously, we'd like to know. There's only like 25 spots being made available and the Department wants to make sure the right 25 people make it? What other explanation could there be?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Even MORE Heroin OD's

At least 10 overdoses around Division street between 011 and 014 this morning. And a Level 1 Haz-Mat situation to boot:
  • A Level 1 hazard response automatically sends two engines, two trucks, one squad, one hazardous incident team, one deputy district chief, one battalion chief, one safety officer, one ambulance and the command van.
And that's how much an hour? To clean up the garbage left behind by junkies? Quite a drain on City resources these dope fiends are turning out to be, eh? What a waste of time, effort, manpower and funding. We've already said this, but can't we just go back to picking up the dead for D-3 pay?

UPDATE: 2127 hours. Did anyone catch the Channel 9 News? They are actually interviewing JUNKIES on television who got free samples and are showing the samples on the air! At least 22 junkies OD'ed today - how many more tomorrow? How many bodies didn't we find tonight?

Another Twist - Blame the Police

  • The vacant Robert Taylor Homes apartment a California woman plunged from this week was being used by the Chicago Police Department for surveillance, officials said Friday.

    The department's use of the apartment is now part of an internal investigation into the incident, including when it was used and whether it had been locked by officers, a top law enforcement source said. [emphasis added - SCC]

Great! A "top law enforcement source" is speculating that coppers may have failed to lock the door to an abandoned apartment. How soon until the lawsuits start flying on this one? And how much that this Sun Times article is exhibit #3 in the civil suit?

Thank boss! How long until they stop us from using abandoned buildings for surveillance and a new training video comes out telling us how to board them up?

Saturday Open Post

Just an open thread for rumors, rants and raving.

The City That Works - Not

The final bill has come due for "the Bean" and it's a whopper! From Channel 7 reports:
  • Here's "the Bean" counter:
  • in 1999 the proposed cost was $6 million.
  • by the time Millennium Park opened the tab had almost doubled.
  • a year ago it had almost tripled and a California engineering company went broke making just the framework.
  • the 2006 final price tag: $23 million.
And how about these stunners:
  • it is more than the City of Chicago budget for women's and children's health care.
  • it is twice the money the city spends on fire prevention.
  • four times the budget for low-income heating bill help.
  • and eight times the amount the city spends on it's plan to end homelessness.
Two years late, four times over budget, just for a sculpture. Good thing the mayor tricked a whole bunch of corporations and wealthy individuals to part with their millions for this debacle.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quick Hits for Friday

Just a little something to post:
  • Bombs? Not really. Some enterprising youths brewed up a little home chemistry experiment and brought it to school. You can find recipes for "MacGyvers" all over the net if you know where to look. Most of them aren't "explosive" per se (no flames) but can be dangerous in the wrong hands (corrosives). We used to do them in high school chemistry classes.
  • The Burge report - will it be released? A hearing was held today to determine if it can or even should be. Channel 7 and Channel 2 cover it. We don't know enough about it to really have an opinion, but if the People's Law Office is involved, we're against them completely.
  • More heroin overdoses! We speculated a while back that this might be a concerted effort to kill junkies and we offered a bit of info we had gleaned that there might be an illegal fentanyl factory somewhere locally. We haven't seen anything for or against any scenario and the longer it goes on without an explanation ... hmm.
  • Big surprise - NOT! O'Hare concession contracts run out and - wonder of wonders - the City "forgets" to re-bid them. It turns out that 60% of the contracts at O'Hare are expired, meaning the holder of the contract can continue to pay the City under the old terms, even if profits have skyrocketed. And it seems all the people holding these contracts are politically connected (Joyce, Higginbottom, the list goes on). How many millions has THIS cost us?

Meeks Games

The reverend Meeks continues to give Illinois Republicans hope that they will be able to recapture the governor's seat this fall, promising to announce a slate of candidates for statewide office on 20 May (Channel 7; Sun Times).

Any slate of candidates running as a third party is bound to fail without a big name at their head to garner attention and votes. Meeks' candidacy will be a big step toward the democrats snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and resuscitating a republican party on life support. We can only hope that his oversized ego blinds him to reality and throws a well needed wrench into Illinois politics.

For Sale - SOLD!

Governor Blago signed a bill today granting property tax exemptions to the unnamed consortiums that the City hopes will bail them out of having to raise taxes on everything under the sun. From the Sun Times:
  • Chief Financial Officer Dana Levenson said City Hall will move carefully now that property tax exemptions have been granted to private investors who lease Midway, the Millennium Park, Grant Park North and South and Monroe Street garages and three transfer stations where recyclables are separated from routine garbage.
So now they've sold the Skyway and they want to sell 5 parking garages and 3 garbage sorting centers. Next up? Any guesses?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

023 District Follies

OK, what the hell is going on in 023? What is this "waiver" that a certain captain was trying to get PO's to sign? What was contained in the waiver that a bunch of people are alluding to about an abrogation of the contract? This sounds like quite a story - no doubt similar to that "quota" memo that was floating around that other northside district signed off on by a Watch Commander, Commander and Deputy Chief.

Where do they come up with these people that just think a legal document (a contract) is so much toilet paper? Oh wait, it must be the "merit" system!

Lighten Up Leftists

The Left is once again frothing at the mouth because the NSA is "monitoring" 11 million American citizens' overseas phonecalls. Of course, what USA Today and the left don't tell you is the logistics behind all of this. They just throw out a number (11 million!) and scream about privacy rights being violated. A little perspective from the boys over at PowerLine:
  • This is a "data mining" project that does not involve listening in on conversations, but merely identifying phone numbers involved in possible terrorist communications.
  • ... it's obvious that what the NSA does with this vast amount of data is to run it through computers, looking for suspicious patterns, especially involving known or suspected terrorist phone numbers. I did a quick calculation: assuming that there are 200 million adult Americans, each of whom places or receives ten phone calls a day (a conservative estimate, I think), it would require a small army of 35,000 full-time NSA employees to pay a total of one second of attention to each call. [emphasis added - SCC]
So once again, the mainstream media, in complicity with those on the left of the political spectrum, are attempting to hamstring the US security agencies in a time of war, probably hoping for another terror attack so that they can get a democrat elected. Or does someone have a better explanation?

Read the whole article over at PowerLine.com and more commentary at MichelleMalkin.com

Another Convention Flees the City

  • Conventions bring in an estimated nine billion dollars to Illinois - much of that in the Chicago area. But two of the big conventions may take their business elsewhere.
  • The Food Marketing Institute or FMI is one of five partners for the food show called "The Power of Five." The annual show closed Tuesday at McCormick Place and FMI announced plans to consider rotating venues beginning 2008.
And once again, this is going to cost the City revenue it can't afford to lose. The trickle down effects of losing these conventions will total in the tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars. At some point in the coming years, someone is going to be left holding the bag for these years of abuse, corruption and fixing. And we see them every day when we look in the mirror.

Congratulations Al O'Connor

Officer Al O'Connor was singled out today at the Police Recognition Ceremony for the Police Medal. As it was explained to us, this is the highest honor that can be given to an individual officer by the Department itself. It is different from the Lambert Tree (a City Council Award?) and is given in addition to an Award of Valor or similar award (which Officer O'Connor also received) for actions deserving special recognition.

We also read in a comment section that Officer O'Connor did not win the America's Most Wanted national award, but those results aren't supposed to be out until Saturday. Whoever has inside info, let us know if possible. If it's just another rumor, it'll be dispelled by Saturday.

If Officer O'Connor didn't win, that's too bad, but we hope that whoever did is as deserving. To be singled out as one of 8 finalists is a great honor in and of itself. And the Lambert Tree Award is still upcoming. Officer O'Connor is on the short list for that award also.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What Happened?

We thought they were going to secure those hatches at the top of the wagons? We also thought they weren't going to transport people cuffed in front unless leg irons were used? Were any of these procedures followed?

Channel 2; Channel 5; Channel 7; Sun Times; Tribune.

Pension Problems

This has popped up in a few comments sections, so we did a little searching and came up with this article from Crain's Chicago Business:
  • The Daley administration is sounding an unusual public alarm about the declining finances of the city's massive employee pension plans.

    In a high-profile speech and subsequent interview that were far stronger than any earlier remarks by city officials, Chief Financial Officer Dana Levenson laid out stark new numbers and projected that pension systems covering police, firefighters, office workers and others will have to begin liquidating assets within a decade and may even face insolvency as soon as 2028 unless something changes.

    "We need collective recognition by all the stakeholders . . . that this situation, without doubt, is a problem," Mr. Levenson told an audience at the City Club of Chicago last week. One example he offered: The $3.9-billion police fund needs to make an 11% return on its investments to break even, but last year netted just 7.3%.
Things that make you go "Hmmm." As we understand State Law (currently written), the City is obligated to pay pensions, which means that they will eventually have to raise taxes to cover any shortfalls. But could this be the beginning of the end of pension plans for public employees? Might we all be moving to private IRA's or similar plans? What effect is this going to have on young guys and gals who can't afford homes in the nicer parts of town AND now might have to fund their own retirements? Numerous questions spring to mind - and the answers aren't as numerous.

IDOT Hero

One of many heroes the other night keeping a copper from burning to death. A riveting account of how he helped State Troopers and others keep the flames at bay until CFD got there to extract a pinned in cop.

Again, we can't thank this guy enough. Or the Troopers. We've always made it a point to stop on the shoulder for Troopers if we happened see them, just to make sure everything was OK. We're thinking they ought to be getting a few "thank yous" when you see them in the stations.

Who Needs Cops ...

... when you have cameras? What with cameras already doing traffic enforcement and this new "Concept Vehicle" doing time around the city recovering hot cars, cameras are going to be used as justification for further reducing manpower in the districts. Pretty soon, the whole city will be all specialized units responding to hot spots and DOC areas and illegal immigrant marches and the beat cop will be a thing of the past.

You heard it here first.

Maybe those of us left can "telecommute" by monitoring cameras from our blogs? Where do we sign up?

Big Raid on Gang

Channel 7; Sun Times; Tribune coverage.

Good to see a large operation like this taken down. Disruption is always good. It leads to more instability in the narcotics operations and can lead to bigger and better things.

We hope it was all done without any profiling though. There'll be hell to pay. Meeks told us so.
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