Sunday, January 31, 2016

From Da Tech Guy: Flint water crisis shows how the left operates

I return to discussing Michigan in this week's post at Da Tech Guy: Flint water crisis shows how the left operates.

Baltimore mosque Obama will visit has extremist ties

I'm not surprised.

From the Daily Caller:
The Baltimore mosque President Obama has chosen as the first U.S.-based mosque to visit during his presidency has deep ties to extremist elements, including to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The White House announced on Saturday that Obama will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) on Wednesday. He has visited several mosques overseas as president but has resisted visiting one in the homeland. The purpose of the trip, according to the White House, is to “celebrate the contributions Muslim Americans make to our nation and reaffirm the importance of religious freedom to our way of life.”

But ISB is a curious choice for Obama’s first domestic visit.

The mosque is a member of a network of mosques controlled by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a Muslim civil rights group named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terror case. Several executives with that organization were convicted of sending money to aid the terrorist group Hamas. (RELATED: Here’s A Map Of Radical Mosques In The U.S. [Interactive])
A former imam of the Maryland mosque advocated suicide bombings.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Despite top secret emails, Hillary says "I never emailed anything that was considered classified"

Hillary Clinton is a liar. During an interview with ABC 9 Dubuque she had the audacity to say, "I never emailed anything that was considered classified" while she was secretary of state. But Clinton used email. And of course the State Department deals with classified material. And classified items passed through the mom-and-pop server she utilized while at State.

(Video) Raw footage of Elvis Costello in Chicago for 20/20 with Geraldo in 1978

Okay my friend it's time for a major change of pace. If you like late 1970s Gold Coast Chicago, Elvis Costello And The Attractions, and Geraldo Rivera, then this video is for you.

(You don't have to be a fan of all three.)

Watch this raw footage from ABC's 20/20 as Geraldo tries to interview Costello as the tour bus and music from the Rutles drowns him out.

The hotels shown are the long-gone Holiday Inn and the Howard Johnson's on Lake Shore Drive.

This video lasted for one minute before one of the moderators on the Forgotten Chicago Facebook page pulled it. Do you think they were wrong?

One man ice fishing on Axehead Lake

Fishing is often a solitary past time--particularly in winter.

One Axehead Lake in Des Plaines, Illinois one man had the lake to himself.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tonight only in Detroit: Dwarf tossing

Topless waitresses apparently aren't enough of an attraction for a Detroit bar. Tonight only there will be a dwarf toss. $10 gets you in but it'll set you back $5 to toss the house dwarf. Of course some people are freaking out and there will a protest outside of the The Toy Chest Bar and Grill, which is hosting the toss.

I'd call this another only-in-Detroit story, but across the border in Windsor, Ontario there will be a dwarf tossing event there too this weekend.

Beyond Benghazi: How many more people did Hillary Clinton kill while SoS?

Today it was announced that the State Department will not release 22 emails, not even partially redacted ones, that passed through her ma-and-pa server instead of a secure federal one.

It's likely that some of those top-top-secret emails broached behind-enemy-line sources. If that is true and if one of America's adversaries hacked into Hillary's insecure server, then people may have died.

Benghazi: four dead. EmailGate: unknown dead.

From AP:
The department published its latest batch of emails from her time as secretary of state Friday evening.

But The Associated Press learned ahead of the release that seven email chains would be withheld in full for containing "top secret" information. The 37 pages include messages a key intelligence official recently said concerned "special access programs" —highly restricted, classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes.

"The documents are being upgraded at the request of the intelligence community because they contain a category of top secret information," State Department spokesman John Kirby told the AP, calling the withholding of documents in full "not unusual." That means they won't be published online with others being released, even with blacked-out boxes.

(Video) Hillary: Appointing Obama to Supreme Court “A great idea”

Watch as what I suspect is a planted audience member ask Hillary Clinton in a town hall if she'd consider appointing Barack Obama to the US Supreme Court.

"Wow, what a great idea," she replied with her plastic smile to the prospect having our executive-order-obsessed president rule on the US Constitution, a document he has no respect for.

Zero Dark Thirty director's next film about '67 Detroit riots

The Motor City's descent dramatically accelerated after the '67 riots.

From the Detroit News:
"Zero Dark Thirty" filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow's next project will move her from the Middle East to Detroit.

Bigelow will direct a film set amid the week of deadly race-related rioting in Detroit that claimed 43 lives in 1967.

The as-yet-untitled film will be financed by Annapurna Pictures and written by Mark Boal.

Bigelow and Boal pair previously collaborated on the Middle East war movies "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Hurt Locker," which earned Academy Awards for best picture, best director for Bigelow and best original screenplay for Boal.
I expect it will be a fantastic film. Production will begin later this year with a release date planned around the the fiftieth anniversary of those riots.

From my post at Da Tech Guy:

I walked its streets--the tragedy of Detroit.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chiraq already has most January murders since 2002

I blame global warming.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago has begun the year with the most murders since 2002, according to data compiled by the Tribune and the Chicago Police Department.

With the fatal beating of a student Thursday on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city has seen at least 47 violent deaths so far this month, data show. Two of those deaths — teens shot to death while robbing a liquor store — are not being classified as murders because the shooting was considered justified by police.

That so far brings the official total of deaths this year classified as murders by the department to 45, matching the total for all of January in 2002. Monthly breakdowns of violent crime in the city are readily available only to 2001.

With three days left in the month, including a weekend of mild weather, the number of murders may rise well above 45.

Sweden set to deport 80,000 migrants

Even Sweden is realizing that the Syrian and Iraqi refugees are in fact economic migrants.

From Fox News:
Up to 80,000 refugees who arrived in Sweden last year will be expelled from the country over the next few years, the country's interior minister said Thursday.

Anders Ygeman told newspaper Dagens Industri that since about 45 percent of asylum applications are currently rejected, the country must get ready to send back tens of thousands of the 163,000 who sought shelter in Sweden in 2015.

"I think that it could be about 60,000 people, but it could also be up to 80,000," Ygeman was quoted as saying.

Ygeman's spokesman, Victor Harju, confirmed the announcement, adding that the minister was simply applying the current approval rate to the record number of asylum-seekers.

Detroit homeless man takes charge card donations on his cell phone

8 Mile and I-75
I was at the same corner this man panhandles on last summer. He wasn't there but since there is a sign, which a homeless person is probably responsible for defacing, stands there, 8 Mile and I-75 must be a busy spot for begging.

From CBS Detroit:
Volunteers in Detroit and across the nation spent the night counting the homeless, and one of those men who lives in the cold is dealing with it in a, shall we say, unusual way.

He calls himself “Honest Abe” and he panhandles not just for pocket change, but also for the donor’s credit and debit cards. He accepts cards with a reader attached to his cell phone.

His real name is Abe Hagenston and he’s been homeless in Detroit for seven years or so. The 8 Mile overpass on I-75 is home.
Related post:

(Photos) Sign on Detroit home warns of crackheads

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

East Chicago IN councilman sworn-in while in jail on murder charges

Indiana likes to present itself as the more-honest of the two states situated at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

But don't get too cocky, Hoosiers. East Chicago in Lake County has been a corruption cesspool for decades.

Courtesy of ABC Chicago, here's the latest atrocity from there:
An East Chicago councilman was sworn into office behind bars earlier this month while in custody on murder charges.

Robert Battle, who was re-elected in November when he ran unopposed, was given his oath of office and signed required paperwork on Jan. 15, said Paula Miraldi, of the Lake County Board of Elections in northwest Indiana.

The board of elections received the paperwork Friday morning, but it was dated Jan. 15. Battle needed to be sworn in and submit his paperwork by Feb. 1, otherwise the council post would be declared vacant.

Battle has been in the custody of the Porter Council Jail in northwest Indiana, according to the Porter County Sheriff's Office.
Battle is a Democrat.

Wife of crooked Illinois cop who faked own murder indicted

Illinois corruption isn't just a Chicago or Metro East vice. It's a problem in far-northwest suburban Lake County too.

A few days before Labor Day a popular Fox Lake cop, Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, staged his own murder--but in fact he killed himself just as authorities were zooming in on his longtime embezzling.

Today his wife, Melodie, surrendered herself to county officials after she was indicted by a grand jury.

From ABC Chicago:
Lake County authorities say as they investigated Lt. Gliniewicz's death, they learned money laundering had occurred involving the finances of the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post. The officer and his wife both helped run the group.

Detectives determined some of the personal expenses paid from the police explorer account included a trip to Hawaii, payments to businesses such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Fox Lake Theatre, and over 400 restaurant charges.

Melodie Gliniewicz was indicted on four counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit and two counts of money laundering.

Even though Joe Gliniewicz made $96,000 a year as a Fox Lake police lieutenant, authorities believe he and his wife lived a much more lavish lifestyle financed by the Police Youth Explorers Post. His social media pages were chock full of travel photos, including dozens from the trip to Hawaii in August of 2014. There are even photos of some of the outings alleged to have been paid for with embezzled funds on the memorial page for her husband.

InstaVision Video: Walls, Deportation, and Dreamers--Is Trump Right About Immigration?

Mickey Kaus, a former Democrat who is now a Donald Trump backer, discusses the shift in the illegal immigration debate--in his direction on InstaVision hosted by Glenn Reynolds. 

Chris Matthews: "Who's going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys?"

It is the leftists, not the Republicans, who keep forcing race and ethnicity into political discussion. They are the bigots.

Yesterday on his "Softball" MSNBC show that almost no one watches, Chrissie said of the news that Donald Trump won't participate in the final Republican presidential debate before the Iowa Caucuses, "Who's going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys?"

Many more people will be watching Thursday's debate than tune in to your show, Matthews.

Mini-Detroit: Harvey IL debt quadrupled in 4 years

Author in Harvey earlier this month
Illinois' miniature version of Detroit, Harvey, is finally filing audits after years of delay. And the southern suburb of Chicago still has two more years to dig through. So far the results are very disturbing.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Audits for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 paint a bleak picture of a city awash in debt even as town officials repeatedly ignored their duty to file the annual audits showing the state its books.

The city expects to complete the remaining audits for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 in April, and a spokesman for the city said those reports will show the city has made significant improvements.

"The woes which are reflected in the audits up until 2013 do not reflect the remarkable improvements over the past two years and beyond," spokesman Sean Howard said.

But the picture painted at a public review of the audits this week was bleak: In fiscal year 2008, the last time Harvey filed a financial report, the city's net financial position was $14 million in the red. By 2013, after years of big borrowing, failing to pay pension funds and skipping water payments to Chicago, that negative figure had more than quadrupled to nearly $64 million, according to copies of the financial reports.
Harvey's problems will probably worsen. Because the City Council refused to approve the mayor's 2016 tax levy, Cook County will not collect the Harvey portion of the property tax bill for city residents. The projected shortfall will be $15 million which the Tribune says will half of the Harvey's income.

Remember: At the end of 2013 Harvey was $64 million in debt.

Harvey needs to pull much more than a rabbit out of its hat to get out of this hole. Under current Illinois law municipalities cannot declare bankruptcy.

Related posts:

(Photos) Abandoned homes in the corrupt city of Harvey, Illinois

(Photos) Abandoned homes in the corrupt city of Harvey, Illinois, part two

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Guilty on all counts in Chicago red light camera bribery trial

Chicago's Northwest Side
A Chicago Tribune investigation of the crookedness of Chicago's despised red-light camera program--which was always about collecting more money instead of safety--was the impetus of the federal inquiry that netted a former City Hall big shot today.

From the Trib:
In a sweeping victory for federal authorities, a jury wasted little time Tuesday before convicting John Bills on all 20 counts, finding that the former Chicago city official took up to $2 million in bribes and gifts in return for steering tens of millions of dollars in red light camera contracts to an Arizona company.

With his conviction on mail and wire fraud, bribery, extortion, conspiracy and tax fraud charges, Bills faces at least 10 years in prison, and possibly more than 20 years, his attorney said.
Bills was a longtime political operative for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who is also the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. The crook also did campaign work for former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley.

He's a real Chicago kind of guy. I hope that Bills receives a sentence of 20 years or more for his crimes as a lesson to the legions of other corrupt civil servants.

The dishonest vendor was Redflex Traffic Systems Inc.

Pantless Detroit man watching porn on phone dies in one car crash

Michigan State Police car
Here's another only-in-Detroit tale.

From the Detroit News:
A Detroit man watching a porn movie while driving his car got into an accident and died.

The man, who wasn't wearing pants, was watching the movie on his cellphone, said police.

Clifford Ray Jones, 58, wasn't wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected through the sunroof.

A state police spokesman said it's the strangest incident he ever encountered.
Fortunately this was a one-car accident so the goof didn't kill anyone else. Jones was exiting one freeway and heading onto another when his life climaxed.

Chicago Public Schools seeks $10 million from crooked ex-boss

Chicago's Northwest Side
If Al Capone was around today he'd be in charge of Chicago Public Schools. Because that's where the big money is.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool is demanding that his convicted predecessor, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, reimburse the cash-strapped school district about $10 million — or triple the salary she was paid at CPS and the kickbacks promised her.

Last fall, Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to a scheme to get a 10 percent kickback from contracts granted to SUPES Academy, a north suburban principal training company that once employed her.

The woman once affectionately known as B3 was done in by her own audacious emails demanding a college fund for her twin grandsons. In one, she claimed she had "tuitions to pay and casinos to visit."

Now Claypool wants to throw the book at Byrd-Bennett, using a state law that allows government agencies to go after corrupt individuals or contractors to the tune of triple the amount paid to those criminals.
Go for it, Forrest, go for it.

B3 was Rahm Emanuel's choice to serve as the boss for CPS. And Byrd-Bennett used to be a big shot at one of the few urban school district's worse than Chicago's.


Illinois' reform governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, wants to give the ability to CPS to declare bankruptcy and to place Chicago's government-run schools into receivership. Those are good ideas.

Related post:

Nearly-bankrupt Detroit Public Schools' execs among nation's best paid

(Video) Inside the Reagan Library: President Reagan's Humor

Unlike the current occupant of the White House, Ronald Reagan never took himself too seriously, he often poked fun at his age.

But he had other targets too.

Here's one Reagan quip: "Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

Related posts:

Nearly-bankrupt Detroit Public Schools' execs among nation's best paid

Abandoned Detroit School
It's stories such as this one that makes me believe that urban public school districts are primarily generous employment programs.

Despite a ten percent pay cut, Detroit Public Schools executives are raking in the cash.

Oh, DPS is teetering towards bankruptcy.

From ABC Detroit:
We obtained contracts for execs and reviewed salaries at districts across the U.S. We found the big shots at DPS are among the best paid in the entire country.

Take, for example, the Executive Director of Communications, Michelle Zdrodowski. On the same day [emergency manager Darnell Earley] delivered his grim budget speech, she inked a one-year contract for $161,111. Incredibly, that's more than Los Angeles and Chicago, the second and third largest districts in the U.S. pay their P.R. bosses. Even with the 10% pay cut, Zdrodwoski earns more than her counterparts at many larger districts we reviewed.

Detroit has also gone Hollywood when it comes to its Chief Procurement Officer. The purchasing boss in Los Angeles makes about $157,000 per year, the same rate DPS signed Medina Noor for. Even with the 10% cut, she's better paid than the bosses in Dallas and Philly, districts more than three-times the size of Detroit.

It's a similar story with Steve Wasko, Executive Director for Enrollment. He makes more than the enrollment boss in Chicago - which has 400,000 students - and Philly, which is also far larger.
The cost of living in Detroit isn't very high by the way.

Chiraq: 5 dead and 11 wounded in 11 hours on Monday

Englewood Safe
Passage Route
An 11 hour period on Monday saw a weekend's worth of mayhem in Chicago. Five people were murdered and another 11 were wounded. One of the homicides occurred mid-morning along a Chicago Public Schools Safe Passage route.

Chiraq is averaging about 10 shootings per day so far in 2016.

Monday, January 25, 2016

In 2024 retirees will cost Illinois more than teachers in the classroom

Public-sector unions and their enablers, mainly but not exclusively Democratic politicians, have ruined Illinois.

From Fox Chicago:
By 2024, Illinois taxpayers will spend more on retired teachers than current teachers in the classroom.

The new study's grim forecast comes Monday as the president of the State Senate says he agrees with Governor Bruce Rauner on a plan to reduce the cost of those retirement benefits.
Fed up Prairie State voters--including this one--vote to put the Republican reform governor in to stop the bleeding. But there will be more blood.

Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are jobless, not going to school

Daniel Webster School,
West Side
Chicago's unionized schools have reaped a bitter harvest, as a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago discovered.

From Fox Chicago:
The study was done for the Alternative Schools Network. Researchers looked at employment numbers from 2014 and found that 41 percent of all blacks ages 20-24 in Chicago were out of work and out of school compared to 27 percent in New York City and 29 percent in Los Angeles.

And the problem was particularly acute for black men in Chicago where the percentage was 47 percent.
And things are worse in Detroit:

Related post:

Only 53 percent of Detroit working-age adults had a job in 2014

(Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's most violent neighborhood--West Garfield Park

For all of the talk of Englewood on the South Side being Chicago's being so viscious, by most accounts it is not Chicago's most violent neighborhood. That dishonor goes to West Garfield Park on the West Side.

And yesterday afternoon I dropped by for a visit.

Those abandoned apartment buildings are on the 4200 W. Van Buren Street.

Records only go back to 1930 for Chicago's designated neighborhoods--and that is when the population of West Garfield Park peaked at 50,018. In 2010 only 18,001 people resided there.

Across the street is the former Genevieve Melody Public School--it was one of fifty schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Board of Education in 2013. The school name was transferred to the onetime Edward C. Delano Elementary School about a mile northeast of here.

Notice the upturned points on the wrought-iron fence on the second floor.

Last week the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association revealed that Chicago Public Schools doesn't know what happened to much of the desks, computers, and books from Melody and the other shuttered 49 schools. My guess is that it was stolen by so-called civil servants.

West Garfield Park has a dazzling array of home styles--including Dutch Colonials such as this one at 922 S. Karlov.

Madison Street east of Pulaski. This was the epicenter of the West Side Riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. Stores and businesses were looted and burned for a 28-block stretch of Madison. There were also riots in North Lawndale--also on the West Side--and in Woodlawn on the South Side. White-owned shops were singled out during the riots--most of the stores that I saw yesterday were owned by Pakistanis and Indians.

It was during that urban upheaval when Mayor Richard J. Daley issued his infamous "shoot to kill" arsonists order.

Surprisingly, unlike in Englewood, there is a lot of commercial activity in West Garfield Park and that retail hum might explain why the latter has a higher violent crime rate than the former. The stores attract gang members too--and gangbangers who may not normally see each other on their own turf do so on Madison and other busy streets.

Detroit has many 1920s-vintage abandoned hotel gems such as the Lee Plaza. Chicago not so much.
But at 4000 W. Washington Streets stands--at least for now--the Guyon Hotel, Moorish Revival structure designed by Jens J. Jensen. After the '68 riots the Guyon, which became a single-room occupancy hotel. A Lutheran social services group turned the property into low-income apartments in the 1980s which is when Jimmy Carter visited while he was working on a Habitat for Humanity project. Crain's Chicago Business reported that the former presidents "stayed overnight in a roach-infested room, furnished with only a couch and a milk crate."

The "Carter buildings" became rundown and were later razed.

Jack McGurn, an enforcer for Al Capone, kept an apartment at the Guyon--which the police raided in 1928.

Four years ago the Guyon was named as one of Illinois' Ten Most Endangered Historic Places.

I have a fondness for stores with animal statues on the roof, which the Springfield Food Mart on Madison proudly displays. "Soon" the grocery store--look closely at the signage--will accept Illinois Link (food stamps) and it will be selling Illinois Lottery tickets.

I wanted to get more photos of the stores on Madison but I was getting scowls from passerbys there. Unlike the people of Detroit's blighted neighborhoods, the Chicago have-nots are not friendly. Seriously, that is something Detroit can build on.

Because 4139 W. 5th Street is not as prime of a location as Madison Street, Quality Groceries was not able to survive.

For some people the world is their trash can.

An abandoned graystone on Van Buren.

Much of West Garfield Park lies in Chicago's 28th Ward. In 2012 Mitt Romney received no votes in two precincts in the 28th. Overall in the ward Romney's Democratic counterpart, Chicagoan Barack Obama, won ninety-five percent of the presidential vote that year.

You'll find a red "X" on this apartment building at 4122 W. Arthington Street, which means Chicago officials have designated that this abandoned eyesore as structurally unsound and that firefighters should show extra caution if they enter it to put out a blaze.

Related posts:

(Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Englewood neighborhood

Chiraq: 3 dead and at least 17 wounded in weekend shootings

This weekend's Chicago mayhem reached outside of its traditional areas. A man shot to death in the lobby of the Hyatt McCormick Place in the South Loop was one of three murders in Chiraq over the weekend. At least seventeen other people were wounded including a Loyola University student on its Rogers Park campus and a woman riding in a car near Navy Pier on the Gold Coast.

Since New Year's Day there have been about ten shootings a day in Chicago.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Detroit carjacking fails because thieves couldn't figure out how to operate pushbutton start

If you are a thief--do not read this next sentence: When you want to turn the ignition of a keyless start--you put your foot on the brake and push the big red button that says "start."

From the Detroit News:
Two people are sought in the attempted carjacking of an elderly man outside a gas on the city's west side.

Detroit Police said a man and a girl attempted to carjack a 66-year-old man outside the gas station 9:40 p.m. Friday in the 8800 block of Wyoming.

The pair, say police, approached the man while he was pumping gas and one of them demanded his car keys. The victim complied and both suspects got into the vehicle. But once inside, the male suspect could not figure out how to start the vehicle. The two left the vehicle and fled after having no success.

The victim was not injured in the incident, say police.
The cops describe the clueless Bonnie and Clyde as teenagers.

From Da Tech Guy: National Review’s Club Conservative attacks Trump

Of course I am not going to ignore National Review's condemnation of Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump in my weekly blog post at Da Tech Guy: National Review’s Club Conservative attacks Trump.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's negligence in the Flint water crisis

Michigan flag on the left
While the ultimate responsibility for the Flint water debacle belongs to Governor Rick Snyder--he appointed the emergency manager of the essentially-bankrupt town, that doesn't mean others are blameless.

It was not Snyder, a Republican, who made the decision not to add an anti-corrosive to Flint's drinking water--which would have cost $150 a day.

Let me introduce you to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

From a Detroit News op-ed:
The second breach was the almost stubbornly negligent and mind-bogglingly bureaucratic response to resident complaints about the water. When the first glass of brown water was drawn from the tap, the MEDQ should have gone into crisis mode. Instead, its staffers kept insisting the nasty looking and smelling stuff was safe to use.

Even after the first hints came of elevated lead in Flint children, the MEDQ and the state Health Department reacted defensively. With a disaster unfolding, they stuck to the standard procedure for testing, and struggled to interpret Environmental Protection Agency rules for lead and copper in water.

The EPA also failed to raise appropriate alarms when it became aware of the contamination.

New MDEQ Director Keith Creagh says at worst the bad water should have been detected after six months. But it kept flowing for another eight. The MDEQ failed to act even after General Motors Corp. in October of 2014 stopped using Flint water at its local facilities because it was damaging metal parts.
Related post:

Michael Moore says Flint water crisis is intentional

(Video) Hillary cites "nodding" at her rallies as proof of enthusiasm for her campaign

While on the friendly turf of Meet the Press this morning, Hillary Clinton told host Chuck Todd that because folks are nodding at her campaign events they are enthusiastic about her campaign.

But are they nodding off?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chiraq: Man shot to death in South Loop hotel lobby, "This ain’t Englewood," mother cries

Chicago's South Loop
The Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and its predecessor inn, McCormick Place Hotel, always had a reputation for violence not shared by other Chicago hotels that cater to the convention crowd. A rough place for sure--but not dangerous in the way Englewood is.

But early this morning there was a fatal shooting in the lobby of the South Loop hotel. "How did this happen? Here? This ain't Englewood!" the murder victim's mother yelled.

Sadly, this could be the beginning of a disturbing trend. On the Saturday before in the Congress Hotel-also in the South Loop two men robbed five people at gunpoint in a hotel room there.

Disclosure: I worked at the Congress for most of the 1990s.

Back the the Hyatt murder

From the Chicago Tribune:
A 25-year-old man was shot to death inside a Hyatt Regency hotel at McCormick Place in the South Loop neighborhood early Saturday, police said.

Courtney Taylor, of the 1600 block of South Paulina Street, was in a group of several men during a birthday party in the hotel lobby when a male attacker pulled out a gun and fired shots, police said.

Taylor suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No one was in custody as of early Saturday.
As for these birthday parties, these are grown-up affairs that on a good day are only a major headache for hotel staff. This is how most of them work: A suite or a small banquet room is rented, the patygoers bring in their own booze and food--in violation of hotel rules--and drugs, smoke lots of cigarettes, play loud music, and raise hell for the most part.

Related post:

(Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Englewood neighborhood

Clouds over a frozen Des Plaines River

January's frigid air has frozen the Des Plaines River. Here is what it looked like late Friday afternoon at Dam Number 4 Woods East in Des Plaines.

Chicago Trib: "Illinois government is a massive retirement system"

The Chicago Tribune nailed it yesterday in a brilliant op-ed after laying out the disaster of my state government: "As a result, Illinois government is a massive retirement system that, during work hours, also offers some services."

More from the Trib:
The Illinois model lies broke and broken. But for decade upon decade, running Chicago and Illinois must have been sweet. Mayors, legislative leaders and go-along governors — the R or D behind their names meant little — rarely made trouble for one another. To this day aging members of that incestuous Illinois political class describe one another as "someone you could work with." Of course you could. When everyone's profiteering except chumped taxpayers and needy people doomed to shabby services — or, in CPS' notorious case, to shabby educations — why would anybody make strange?

And if a few politicians ruffled an occasional feather — Gov. Dan Walker or, until he got his nose realigned by a certain House speaker, Gov. Jim Edgar — Illinois never had a chief executive who rebuked the Illinois model. Rebuked the quasi-Ponzi scheme in which politicians used rising revenue for their new spending rather than to reduce taxpayers' debts.

At the rotten core of Illinois governance lurked this big lie: If you ran a city or a school system or a statehouse, you perpetually could force Tomorrow to pay for Yesterday and Today. Each mini-generation — a new mayor or governor, a new cohort of legislators, a new county board — could spend and borrow and force their children to pay for it all.

The most egregious example was the pension legislation that today's top legislative leaders, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, and many others helped enact. In return, they got campaign labor and money from public sector union leaders.
Fortunately Illinois voters elected a new governor, Republican reformer and political newcomer Bruce Rauner, who isn't beholden to the "broke and broken" way of doing things. But two old guard Chicago Democrats--the aforementioned Madigan and Cullerton--who are empowered by gerrymandering--want to keep the failed way of doing business in place.

Rauner. Must. Win.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Over 200 shot in Chiraq so far this year

Abandoned home in
Clearly Rahm Emanuel's firing of police superintendent Garry McCarthy last month--over the Laquan McDonald death--hasn't made Chicago safer.

From the Chicago Tribune:
Three men were killed and seven other people were wounded in Chicago on Thursday through early Friday as the number of shooting victims in the city passed 200 three weeks into the new year.

The tally so far is already higher than the totals for the entire month of January over each of the the last four years.

As of Friday, at least 202 people had been shot in the city this year, 34 of them fatally, according to data kept by the Chicago Tribune.
But five more people were shot so far today--so that 2016 total is now 207 by my reckoning. Which means there are about ten shootings a day in Chiraq.

You'll find some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation in Chicago.

Related post:

(Photos) The abandoned homes of Chicago's violent Englewood neighborhood

Ten-point buck in Des Plaines

While from the angle that I took this photograph you can't tell--but below is a ten-point white-tailed deer buck that I saw two days ago in Campground Road Woods in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Junk City: Chicago Public Schools to layoff HQ employees today

Belding Elementary, NW Side
There will be fewer memos written at Chicago Public Schools headquarters soon as pink slips are coming.

From AP:
Chicago Public Schools will lay off some of its central office staff this week as it deals with its precarious financial state, the head of the district said Thursday.

The announcement by district CEO Forrest Claypool came a day after top Illinois Republicans called for a state takeover of the financially troubled school district, which has a nearly $1 billion budget deficit that could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs and a strike.
As with the city proper and the Chicago Park District--CPS bonds are rated as junk. President Obama's first education secretary is one of Claypool's predecessors.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Flint water: Regional EPA boss quits

Two days after President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency admitted that it should have acted more quickly in responding to the Flint water crisis, he can claim his first scalp. The EPA announced that its Midwest regional director, Susan Hedman, turned in her resignation.

While Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, cannot be absolved for dangerous levels of lead being Flint's drinking water, this scandal has Democratic fingerprints all over it.

Related posts:

NRO on the Flint water crisis

Michael Moore says Flint water crisis is intentional

NRO on the Flint water crisis

The lead-in-the-drinking-water in Flint, Michigan is a travesty. But the editors of the National Review nails it today when they explain that this is not a Republican scandal.

From National Review Online:
So while those who fault Governor Snyder are not entirely wrong, what is deeply dishonest is the story put forward by such people as the filmmaker Michael Moore, who enjoys pretending to be from gritty, blue-collar Flint (he actually hails from an affluent suburb nearby), that this is, somehow, the result of the Republican approach to government or conservative governing ideas. That is absurd.

Flint is a mess made by Democrats, made worse by the Democrats in Detroit, and ignored by the Democrats in the White House. The worst that can be said of the Republican on the scene is that he failed to save the local Democrats from the worst effects of their own excesses. But that is the Democrats' approach to calculating the chain of responsibility: Go up the ladder or down, as needed, until a Republican is located, or a private firm, in which case capitalism can be blamed. The Democratic monopolies in Flint, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Newark? Somehow, somewhere, there's a Republican responsible for that, even if he has to be brought in on an overnight flight from Oklahoma.

Flint is nothing more than a miniature Detroit. And Detroit is what Democrats do.
One thing NRO did miss in its otherwise brilliant piece is that Democrats have been waiting for years to find an issue with which to attack Michigan's emergency manager law because it disempowers incompetent liberal bureaucrats. And they found one in that tainted water.

Related post:

Michael Moore says Flint water crisis is intentional

If Detroit teachers really cared about the kids they would donate their "sick pay" to children's charities

Abandoned Detroit
The Detroit teachers participating in nearly daily sick-outs--today is an exception--at the urging of the ousted leftist president of the Detroit Federation of teachers, they would donate their "sick pay" to children's charities.

But they are not.

From my post at Da Tech Guy:

Detroit teachers illegally strike with sick-outs and no one cares

British inquiry says Putin "probably" approved murder of ex-spy

Translation: Putin is a dickhead
This news should not be surprising. Remember, Putin is a former KGB agent.

From BBC News:
The murder of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 in the UK was "probably" approved by President Vladimir Putin, an inquiry has found.

Mr Putin is likely to have signed off the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko with polonium-210 in part due to personal "antagonism" between the pair, it said.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the murder was a "blatant and unacceptable" breach of international law.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Detroit Public Schools sues teachers over illegal sick-outs

Abandoned Detroit school
Nearly all public schools in Detroit were closed today as unionized teachers participated in another sick-out. President Obama was in the Motor City on Wednesday to cheer on the auto industry an to celebrate the so-called comeback of Detroit. The leftists egging on the teachers, led by ousted Detroit Federation of Teachers president Steve Conn, chose the occasion of the Obama visit to draw attention to their demands.

But perhaps they over-achieved.

From the Detroit News:
Detroit Public Schools is asking a judge to issue a restraining order and a preliminary injunction against teachers who engaged in alleged work strikes, ordering them to stop the sickouts and return to work.

The emergency motion, filed Wednesday in the Michigan Court of Claims, names 23 DPS teachers, the Detroit Federation of Teachers and its interim president, Ivy Bailey, and organized sickout supporters such as DPS Teachers Fight Back and By Any Means Necessary.

It asks for a court order requiring teachers to follow Michigan law, which prohibits strikes by public employees, as well as damages of more than $25,000.

(Video) Andrea Mitchell: All of the foreign policy crises “got worse” on Hillary's watch

You name it--ISIS, the withdrawal from Iraq, and the Syrian Civil War. All of these, NBC's leftist commentator Andrea Mitchell said to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, got worse under Hillary Clinton's watch as secretary of state.

It got worse under Panetta's watch too.

GOP proposes bankruptcy and state oversight of Chicago Public Schools

Sherwood Elementary School,
South Side
Oh, bonds from Chicago Public Schools are rated as junk.

From ABC Chicago:
Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Rep. Ron Sandack announced a proposal for the state of Illinois to take control of Chicago Public Schools.

The proposal would allow CPS to declare bankruptcy and pave the way for the state to take over. The school system is currently controlled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has asked for financial help from Springfield.

CPS is facing a $480 million shortfall and a possible strike, if a contract can't be reached with the Chicago Teachers Union.

"I'm very concerned about the trajectory we're going with CPS and right now the mayor's only message to state government is, 'Hey, we failed to financially support our school children so send us half a billion dollars.' That's not a reasonable position for the mayor to take," Rauner said.
Among other things, union contracts can be renegotiated in a bankruptcy. Contractors are likely to get shortchanged in money owed to them, but many of them, perhaps most of them, are crony capitalists or worse who buy their way into the system. Rahm Emanuel's handpicked choice to run CPS, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, pleaded guilty last year for taking part in a kickback scheme. However, BBB is still eligible to collect a $140,000 annual pension.

President Obama's first Education Secretary was Arne Duncan, was formerly the CEO of CPS. Smelling the stench, the future first couple chose to send their daughters to a private school when they lived in Chicago.

Related post:

CPS doesn't know what happened to stuff from 50 closed schools

Illegal Detroit teacher sick-out closes nearly all schools as Obama visits city

Abandoned Detroit school
President Obama is in Detroit today to visit the North American International Auto Show and to view the so-called progress in the city since it emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

But most of the city's teachers called in "sick" to participate in an illegal strike.

From CBS Detroit:
Mass teacher sickouts have prompted nearly all of Detroit Public Schools to close on the day President Barack Obama is set to visit the city.

More than 85 schools across the city are closed Wednesday because of excessive teacher absences — the largest in a string of recent sickouts meant to call attention to high class sizes, dilapidated buildings and other problems in Michigan’s largest school district.

DPS officials say they have "no other option but to close schools when teachers do not report for work." Michelle Zdrodowski, DPS spokesperson, said staff members at the schools which have closed must still report for work Wednesday or take a personal leave day. Otherwise, staff could face disciplinary action as most of the district’s 46,000 students sit at home.

Zdrodowski said the call-offs have left just nine school buildings open across the district.
The sick-outs are being organized by ousted Detroit Federation of Teachers president Steve Conn. He should be charged with racketeering.

From my post at Da Tech Guy:

Detroit teachers illegally strike with sick-outs and no one cares

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Only 53 percent of Detroit working-age adults had a job in 2014

Detroit's Renaissance Center
As for the "Detroit is coming back" meme, does anyone serious think the numbers are much better for 2016.

President Obama will be in Detroit Wednesday for the North American International Auto Show and while in the Motor City the president will assess the progress since it emerged from bankruptcy two years ago.

From the Detroit News:
Few Detroiters work in the city and, overall, only 53 percent of working-age residents of the city had any type of job in 2014, according to a new workforce study released Tuesday.

"Detroit's Untapped Talent: Jobs and On-Ramps Needed" is the first of a two-part report about the state of Detroit’s labor force and job market. It is intended to help the city and the private sector find a way to overcome the challenges of Detroit’s labor market.

The study was initiated by JPMorgan Chase’s $100 million commitment to the city's economic recovery. It was done in partnership with the nonprofit Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, which partners with government, business, and community leaders to connect workers with jobs.
Among the study's findings:
Not enough jobs in Detroit: Few Detroiters work in the city because there are not enough suitable jobs. Only about 26 percent of jobs in Detroit are held by people who live in the city. Nearly 2 in 3, or 64 percent, of Detroit workers commute to the suburbs. A large number of those who work in the suburbs are in the lowest wage bracket. That's because there are very few entry-level job opportunities in the city limits, the study found.
Detroit sticks it to its residents with a 2.4 percent municipal income tax and businesses face a corporate income tax. While my guess is that few entry-level workers get angry over the income tax, higher-paid managers probably do. Or the other hand Detroiters who work outside of the city are supposed to pay their municipal income tax but because--at least for now--hardly any employers withhold funds for Detroit, reverse computers keep that money in their pockets.

From my post at Da Tech Guy:

I walked its streets--the tragedy of Detroit.

Palin endorses Trump at Iowa rally

Sarah Palin connects well with Iowa conservatives. This is a big deal.

From NPR:
Tea Party darling Sarah Palin threw her support behind Donald Trump in a raucous speech Tuesday night, a blow to a surging Ted Cruz with less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses.

Trump is "perfectly positioned to let you make America great again. Are you ready for that, Iowa?" Palin told a crowd in Ames, standing beside Trump. "No more pussyfooting around."

It was all classic Palin — rambling, unpredictable and taking aim at the GOP establishment. She said Trump would "kick ISIS' ass." She slammed President Obama as "weak-kneed." And, using one of her signature phrases, she praised Trump for "going rogue left and right."

"We need someone new," Palin said, "who can bust up that establishment that can make things great again."
The Iowa Caucuses are in two weeks.

Partially frozen Des Plaines River

Bitter cold hit the Chicago area this week.

The Des Plaines River at Campground Road Woods in Des Plaines is almost frozen over.

UN coming to Chicago to investigate race relations

Chicago's Grant Park
When is the UN going to Saudi Arabia to investigate religious discrimination and bias against women there?

From Fox Chicago:
A group from the United Nations will be in Chicago next week to investigate the current state of the city's race relations.

On Monday, civil rights leaders gathered on the Southside to discuss the UN visit and to urge investigators to examine social and economic disparity within the city, as well as to examine violence against blacks at the hands of police officers.
"We got people on the police force that don't care about us. They don't care about us," founder of Women’s All Point Bulletin Crista Noel said while crying.

A small UN delegation is scheduled to meet next week with Cook County officials, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration, and citizens in an open forum at Chicago State University, where educational disparity is likely to be an emotional topic.
If Donald Trump was president he'd tell the UN to get lost and to mind their own business.

UN says Islamic State is holding 3,500 slaves

Slavery is not a thing of the past.

In a report outlining "staggering" civilian casualties in Iraq the United Nations also reported on slavery perpetuated by the Islamic State.

From CBS News:
The report also said ISIS is believed to currently be holding approximately 3,500 people captive as slaves.

"Those being held are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yezidi community, but a number are also from other ethnic and religious minority communities," said the report, issued jointly by the U.N.'s Assistance Mission for Iraq and the global body's human rights office.

It said the crimes committed by ISIS may "in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide."

ISIS swept across northern and western Iraq in the summer of 2014 plunging the country into its worst political and security crisis since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.

Monday, January 18, 2016

(Photo) A "fumarole" in Park Ridge, Illinois

What's a fumarole? It's a steam and gas equivalent of a geyser. And yes, the headline is a tease, there is not a hole in the planet's crust in Park Ridge, Illinois. What you see is steam rising from a gated shaft of the Deep Tunnel Project at Iroquois Woods that was take this afternoon on a single-digit degree day.