Saturday, May 30, 2009

Britian Got Talent

At first I couldn't believe the headlines that said Susan Boyle came in second to a DANCE TROUPE! What kind of dancers could knock that voice off the threshold of winner. Well Diversity did and for good reason. The genius of their choreography is unbelieveable. They serve the win.




WhatEver Happened To Shooting Out The Tires?

Maybe its just me, but shouldn't they just have shot out the tires. Did they really need to kill this man? Come on People, we are in the worst economy in 95% of our memories, and now becoming agitated now equals death?

Cops chase, kill agitated school bus driver
By Liam Ford and Dennis Sullivan

Chicago Tribune

May 30, 2009

A disgruntled school bus driver led police on a chase through the south suburbs Friday, ramming police cars and civilian vehicles before he was fatally shot by police after driving toward an officer.

Ronald E. Newsome, 35, of the 12100 block of South Wallace Street in Chicago, was shot twice by a South Holland police officer and later pronounced dead at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, police said.

A female monitor, the only other person on the bus, was unharmed. Two officers suffered minor injuries not related to the shooting, and some people in the vehicles hit by the bus were hurt but apparently not seriously.

Police would not say whether Newsome was armed, but South Holland Police Chief Warren Millsaps justified the shooting.

It was unclear why Newsome was upset. Police said his manager at First Student Bus Co. described him as acting "erratic and threatening" when he arrived at the bus yard in South Holland about 7:30 a.m. Friday. Told not to drive, Newsome took a bus, with the monitor onboard, and allegedly tried to hit co-workers, police said.

Police said Newsome went north to Riverdale, where he was temporarily stopped by police at Sibley Boulevard and State Street before driving through South Holland, Thornton and Glenwood, hitting at least three squad cars and about three civilian vehicles.

Surrounded by police near Main and North Main Streets in Glenwood, Newsome accelerated, and an officer fired twice, police said.

The bus normally carries special-needs students. The company said Newsome had driven since March and had cleared criminal and other background checks.

Liam Ford is a Tribune reporter; Dennis Sullivan is a freelancer. Tribune reporter Sally Ho contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune


WATCH THIS VIDEO. Beside Boo-Boo The Fool forgetting that his fingerprints will be all over the police video, he also left his DNA by just touching the officer's clothes.

But another thing this moron forgot is that when he moved the officer to take his gun and wallet, if that officer ends up paralayzed, he will be responsible for that as well. I am sure his mother is real proud of the fool she raised!



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Daley's Continued ALZHEIMER moments!

Daley doesn't remember receiving Gutierrez's letter that lobbies for developer, aide says
Mayor's office says congressman didn't have anything to do with city's reversal of opposition to West Side project
By Dan Mihalopoulos
Tribune reporter

October 31, 2008

A top aide to Richard Daley said Thursday that the mayor does not recall receiving a 2004 letter from U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who wrote Daley on behalf of a developer who had just loaned him $200,000.

Daley's press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, said the congressman's lobbying did not have anything to do with the city's reversal of its long-standing opposition to the West Side residential and commercial project proposed by Gutierrez campaign contributor Calvin Boender.

Federal investigators have obtained Gutierrez's letter to Daley as part of their grand jury investigation into City Hall's zoning process, the Tribune reported Wednesday.

On Thursday, Daley declined to answer questions about the topic for the second consecutive day.

Later Thursday, in an e-mail response to the Tribune, Heard said neither the mayor nor any of his aides "can recall him meeting with the congressman on this project or anything else except for the city's legislative agenda."

Boender's $60 million Galewood Yards project brought homes and a movie theater to a rail yard near Grand and Central Avenues. Federal authorities have subpoenaed city documents related to the project and three others supported by Ald. Isaac Carothers in his 29th Ward.

Gutierrez has defended his lobbying as "entirely appropriate" and said he repaid the loan from Boender, which he used to buy a vacant lot on Fulton Street. Boender has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

The Daley administration insisted for years that the site remain industrial, and city planners complained Boender was "unwilling to work with them." But it was rezoned in 2006.

Hey, REMINDER : little louie GOT A BIG $200.000 LOAN FROM BOENDER!

Congressman' s $200,000 loan

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez's loan from a developer who contributes to his campaign raises questions about how clout drives the city's zoning system

By Robert Becker, Todd Lighty and Dan Mihalopoulos | Tribune reporters
October 29, 2008

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez personally lobbied Mayor Richard Daley to back a controversial multimillion- dollar development for a campaign contributor who had just lent the congressman $200,000 in a real estate deal, a Tribune investigation has found.

Now the congressman' s unusual gesture of support is under federal scrutiny as authorities investigate how developers overcame city planners' objections to convert the West Side industrial site into a more profitable residential and commercial development.

Authorities have obtained Gutierrez's July 7, 2004, letter to Daley—written on U.S. House stationery—as part of their grand jury investigation into how zoning works inside City Hall, sources told the Tribune.

Gutierrez said there is no connection between the loan and his letter of support for the Galewood Yards project, which is not in his district. In a written statement, the congressman said his involvement was "extremely minimal" and "entirely appropriate. "

He said he has not been contacted by federal authorities.

The federal investigation comes as the Tribune's "Neighborhoods for Sale" series documents an insiders' game in which politicians rake in millions in campaign cash from developers and other real estate interests while often overriding concerns of homeowners and city planners. It is a system that has fundamentally reshaped the character of city neighborhoods.

Calvin Boender, the developer of the Galewood Yards project, has been a longtime campaign donor to Gutierrez and a major contributor to Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th). As part of their investigation, federal authorities have subpoenaed city records related to Boender's project and three others that Carothers backed in his West Side ward.

Gutierrez, an eight-term Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1992 and is seeking re-election in November against little-known Republican and Green Party challengers.

Boender did not return messages requesting an interview.

Gutierrez sent the letter of support after buying a vacant lot from Boender at 1007 W. Fulton St. with the help of a $200,000 loan from him. The congressman provided the Tribune with bank documents stating he repaid the loan at an above-market interest rate.

It is not unusual for one party to lend the other money to complete a land deal, Gutierrez said, adding he got no unfair financial advantage and actually lost money in the 2004 investment. He praised Boender as a reputable businessman.

"I know him and I know his good work," Gutierrez said.

Over the years, Gutierrez has enjoyed a close relationship with several developers. He has entered into real estate deals with them, and they have helped finance his re-elections.

Gutierrez said there is nothing wrong with such relationships, in part because he has never used his public position to help developers who do business with him. In an interview last year, Gutierrez emphasized that he never gets involved in local zoning matters.

"One of the reasons that we're very careful about our real estate investments is that I don't have anything to do with zoning changes. I don't write letters of recommendation; I don't have a vote on the zoning committee. . . . I've done nothing using my official capacity as a [congressman] ," Gutierrez said.

Boender of Elmhurst has developed projects throughout Chicago and has donated generously to local politicians—particul arly to Gutierrez and Carothers.

Through interviews and records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the Tribune pieced together how Boender found success at Galewood Yards, where previous owners had failed. It took Boender years of haggling with reluctant city Planning Department officials, even as he enlisted the support of Gutierrez, Carothers and other aldermen.

City Hall rejected a previous proposal to build houses and commercial businesses on the property, citing the Daley administration' s policy of preserving scarce industrial areas to promote manufacturing jobs. Boender bought the property from CMC Heartland for $6.9 million in July 2000. In the following year, he and his companies contributed $18,000 to Gutierrez and donated to Carothers, giving him more than $13,000. To date, Boender and his associates have given $41,000 to Gutierrez and more than $55,000 to Carothers.

Boender initially worked with the city's plans to attract industry, including an agreement to build at least one heavy-duty truck ramp from the rebuilt Central Avenue Bridge that spans the site, records show.

But over time it became clear that Boender had different ideas. After suggesting numerous industrial firms to the developer, city planning staff noted in memos that he "was unwilling to work with them."

Eventually Boender told the city he wanted to build homes and a commercial development instead.

Planning Department staff resisted, and the behind-the-scenes battle over Galewood Yards culminated in a summer 2004 meeting where city planners told Daley they opposed Boender's changes.

After that meeting, Gutierrez faxed his letter to Daley's office. In it, Gutierrez said he understood a planner had told the mayor Boender was a "bad guy of sorts." "I absolutely refute this characterization, " he wrote.

He reminded Daley that the mayor was particularly "delighted and supportive" of Boender's redevelopment of the Illinois Bell building in the late 1990s.

"I would ask for any support that you can give him at this time," Gutierrez wrote. He noted Carothers and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) backed the project, which is split between their wards.

Over the next 18 months, Boender and the city reached a compromise. Land west of Central Avenue would be sold—with the help of city tax breaks—to the laborers union for a training center. The land east of Central Avenue would be rezoned to allow construction of a 14-screen movie theater and nearly $60 million residential development of 187 single-family homes, townhouses and condos.

Boender's project reached the Chicago Plan Commission in March 2006, where he was represented by lawyer James Banks, whose uncle chairs the City Council's Zoning Committee.

Carothers and Mitts praised it.

Carothers compared the economic impact of the Galewood project to architect Santiago Calatrava's proposed lakefront Spire, which the commission approved the same day.

"It took a long time to bring this together," Carothers told commissioners. "I think when it's done, that it will be said that this is one of the greatest projects you've seen in Chicago in some time."

Mitts took a more personal approach: "I'm really excited and trying to see my way through [to] acquiring one of those homes."

Mitts, however, never moved in. In an interview Tuesday, Mitts said she made a down payment last year on a Galewood Yards home but backed out of the deal because she "could not swing it" financially.

http://www.chicagot news/local/ chi-zoning29oct2 9,0,2204141. story?page= 2

And Here's A Little More!

GALEWOOD TALE: A possible compromise has emerged in the longstanding stalemate between developer Cal Boender and city officials over development of Galewood Yards on the Northwest Side. City planners have demanded the 50-acre site be reserved for industrial use, which Boender, president of North Development Ltd., has insisted is a dead market. He maintains he could put homes and movie theaters there in a flash.

A source reports Boender is close to a deal with the Chicago unit of the Laborers International Union that could end the impasse. The union is said to want about 20 acres on the western part of the property for a training center. If that happens, the city would then agree to the theaters and about 150 homes on the eastern half. Boender declined to comment.

Galewood Yards is old railroad property at 1900 N. Central. The training center would supplement a similar operation the Laborers have in Carol Stream. The union wants a city location to help it recruit minorities.

Calvin Boender Is NOT A "BAD GUY" says little louie guiterrez

Not a Bad Guy!

Little louie wrote a very interesting letter of support. The feds should look deeper at him as well.

Memories of Claims Said in Days Gone By!

Article Excerpt

A decade ago, developers could still find parcels of 300 acres or more at prime intersections where farmers were holding onto homesteads or investors were holding out for better prices. Most of that land is long gone, but there are still a few choice undeveloped tracts. These parcels aren't likely to remain vacant much longer, because developers from homebuilders to office specialists are still hungry for blank canvases. Here are five of the most promising.

Galewood Yards 1900 N. Central Ave., Chicago

When Calvin Boender bought the former Galewood Yards on the city's West Side four years ago, he figured to turn the empty railroad crossroads into a warehouse and distribution center. "I thought it would make an excellent boutique industrial park,'' says Mr. Boender, president and CEO of North Development Ltd. in Chicago. Despite diligent marketing, not a single industrial tenant has shown interest in the 50 acres, one of the biggest vacant parcels on the city's West and North sides.

Mr. Boender's latest vision is a mixed-use development with housing and retail. Northfield homebuilder Red Seal Development Corp. wants to use most of the land for as many as 250 townhouses and single-family homes, priced from $200,000 to $400,000. And Mr. Boender thinks he can make a deal with a movie operator and supermarket chain.

Alderman Isaac Carothers (29th) is enthusiastic about the plans. "We need more middle-class housing here to interest (people working in the city and) commuting from the suburbs to live here,'' Mr. Carothers says. "And we don't have a grocery or a movie theater in my entire ward.''

But the Daley administration is holding out for industrial development at Galewood Yards, aiming to designate it a planned manufacturing district. That hasn't happened yet, and Mr. Boender is running out of patience. "We've been promoting this land for industrial for three years, and there has been practically zero interest,'' he says.

The location is a problem: Galewood Yards is some 30 blocks from the Kennedy Expressway. "Even if you can find a warehouse or distribution company, they don't want to be that far from an expressway,'' Ald. Carothers says. "This land needs a zoning change to something more realistic.''


Did the Alderman Forget the Eisenhower Expressway? And if the city did more to let traffic flow as opposed to allowing individual aldermen to place stop signs on major
streets, then traffic could easily get where it needs to go.

WATCH: Pharmacist Shoots And kills robbery suspect | News for Austin, Texas | | Top Stories

WATCH: Pharmacist shoots and kills robbery suspect | News for Austin, Texas | | Top Stories

Shared via AddThis

This should play in every jail holding cell!

Raw Video of the Shooting:

Hmm-- Pay Attention WestSiders!

If Ike is being looked at, his puppet Emma Mitts (37th) can't be far behind!


Federal authorities later today plan to announce charges against Ald. Ike Carothers (29th), the chairman of the City Council's police and fire committee, sources told the Sun-Times.

The U.S. Attorney's office would not confirm, deny, nor comment about the target of the charges.

They issued an alert today indicating that new charges are expected in a public corruption case involving an FBI investigation.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI will hold a 2 p.m. news conference.

Also, a U.S. Attorney’s spokesman said a separate, unrelated case involving racketeering activity, armed robberies, arson and illegal gambling will also be unsealed.

Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times disclosed that federal investigators had requested city records on four West Side zoning changes pushed by Carothers.

He had received campaign contributions from two of the businesses seeking the changes.

Also, a 2007 federal subpoena obtained by the Sun-Times also reveals a demand for documents including seven years worth of aldermanic expense records; 29th Ward zoning changes; ordinances introduced by Carothers, and correspondence between Carothers and the mayor's office regarding zoning changes.

The subpoena further demanded information on comments made and votes taken by Carothers since January 2001 before two City Council committees.

Carothers could not be reached for comment.

Last year, the Sun-Times reported that Carothers' New 29th Ward Campaign Committee had accepted, then returned $11,000 in campaign contributions from Morgan Properties, Inc., where FBI mole John Thomas is listed as "manager."

Thomas is a Chicago developer-turned-FBI mole who played a pivotal role in the federal investigation that culminated in the conviction of Tony Rezko, a leading fundraiser for and adviser to ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Sun-Times has reported that Thomas amassed hundreds of hours of recorded conversations for federal investigators and wore a wire to record conversations with an unidentified Chicago alderman.

Thomas' motive for cooperating: He hopes to get probation for a felony fraud conviction.

When Will We See The End of "The Triplets'"?

Sadly, I knew the holiday weekend was upon my North Austin neighborhood. I knew it because the three triplets were out in full force. I heard them being called by far too many adults in my neighborhood. Whether it was those living in the rental apartment building or those who own their houses, I heard the triplets being shouted by the adults living there. Now for whatever reason, the triplets are a genuine "phenomena" of the black community.

No other racial or ethnic group has deemed to name their young children like we do. Thinking back to when I was a child, the triplets didn't exist as far as I can remember. If they did, you rarely heard them being called. But this new generation of parents seemed to embrace the triplets just like they embrace the word "nigger" and any of its derivatives. By the way, the triplets are: Bring Yo' Ass, Take Yo' Ass and Get Yo' Ass.

There is something mentally wrong with parents feeling the need to not call their innocent young children by their names. The shouts weren't of "honey," "sweetie" or "pudding.'" Not of baby girl or baby boy, peaches or little man. They weren't even the names the parents had given the children on their birth certificates. Instead, with the profanity that is used with other adults, I heard the triplets being called and shouted without shame.

"Bring yo' ass on!" was shouted by a mother walking down North Avenue. Her young child followed behind her. No holding hands. No concern about any dangers that could befall the child. But with that important cell phone stuck to her ear, the mother yakked away.

Across the alley, I heard a man shout to a young boy around 3 years old, "Get yo' ass over here!" The boy did as he was told, and the man, who could be a father, uncle, brother, etc., never once gave it a second thought about his words.

From the apartment building, a woman screamed from her window to a child playing out front: "Take yo' ass around back!" And on and on it went.

Not with every adult and not to every child, but it went on often enough to make me write about it. If we are to make it as a community within a society, then somebody has to speak up about what is going on. So how and when did this phenomena start; about using profanity towards our children, and what keeps it going on? The only answer I am interested in is the one that says when it will end.

A cultural phenomenon comes and goes. It is interesting that no one ever had to give out a memo to the black community to tell us to wear baseball caps with gigantic watches attached to them, or get us to wear Obama T-shirts, or even to embrace the current "Mohawk" haircut fad.

But the profanity-laden speech seemed to be more ingrained with each new generation. Those born in the 1960s like it. Those born in the 1980s love it. What will come out of the mouths of the millennium-generation babies? They're currently the recipients of the name-calling. They respond to it the same way they would respond to their own names being spoken. What will they call their children starting in 2020?

Although this trend is currently mostly ingrained in the black community, it won't take long before the larger community adopts it. A lot of what was once only said and done in the black community has been taken on by all of America. The "give-me-five-on-the-black-hand-side" was once exclusively done in the black community. Now, it is the 'high five' many use in everyday circumstances. Once, only black people referred to others as "ho's" or "ho." Now any young person in America uses the term to disparage somebody else.

To those that would say it is too late; that the cat is already out the bag - I rebuke them. It is often said that those who "know better do better."

As a community, let's all work to help those who don't know better, do better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I need HELP with This One...

What kind of knot does one make on a treadmill that causes a child to strangle in it? Four years old and can't get out of a knot? I'm having a problem with it.

Does Micheal Jordan Pitching For the Olympics Impress Anybody?

Ever since he left the Bulls, he hasn't really been doing anything that would make me feel that he is a Chicagoan. Anybody feeling Mike?

Where is Jesse Jackson, Sr?

All the controversies going on and he hasn't found a camera in weeks. Obama has over shadowed him so much that I bet he wished he had cut his balls off.

Wow, Roland Burris Gave Me a Deja Vue Moment

Does anyone remember when Rev Wright went ballastic at the press conference and hollered at the reporter about did they watch his entire sermon. Roland Burris just did the same thing with the reporters as they press him about his ever changing recalling of the contact he had with the Blago people.

White America - Minority America Has Been A Complete Stranger To You

When Barack Obama ran for office, certain things happened that is so every day in Black America are so completely different in White America.

For example, President Obama used the word "sweetie" when speaking with a reporter. It caused a minor controversy. But "sweetie" is used by many in the black community to be warmer than sir or mam, but not necessary an intimate comment or a derogatory one.

I find myself using it a lot when I speak to young people. I can almost 100% of the time get a positive response from them using that approach. Especially in light of the fact that many of the street kids hear so much negativity, that when that small amount of kindness is shown, they respond to it.

Or the fist bump. Sadly most of mainstream white America was so unfamiliar with it that it was foolishly called a "terrorist pump".

I have written in the past about the black community propensity for "reverse logic". Using it can at time lead to warp perceptions if one is not familiar with the black lexicon.

For example, a "bad" dress is not really ugly. It's actually nice. Or using the word "nasty" to mean that you don't like the food item as opposed to meaning that there is something physically wrong with the food.

Does Sonia Sotomayor experiece as a Newyorkrican give her a different outlook? Yes. From the music to growing up, it will not be the Leave It To Beaver lifestyle that she experienced.

We cannot have multiple Americas and then believe that those experiences won't reflect in how we think and see things. And for all the controversies about her "Latina making a better decision than a white man", she married and dated white. So her feet are in that world a lot more than some want to admit.

One of the best examples of that was years ago when two teachers; one black and one white; watching two black youths engage in a confrontation. They were face to face, shouting, cussing and threatening to do everything under the sun to each other. When the two were escorted to the office at the school, the white teacher said they were fighting the black teacher said they weren't fighting. The difference? In black America we don't consider it a fight until a punch is thrown.

I think the same can be said about spanking, where white America is totally opposed to it and black America doesn't see a problem with it.

I still want to hear and see more from her answering some questions that I find important, like: Immigration... Job Outsourcing...Affirmative Action...Eminent Domain... 2nd Amendment...14th Amendment... and on and on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remember Girdles? They Are Making A Comeback

I got the image to the left as part of an email introducing "Body Magic". I almost fell out of my chair laughing. In my youth they were called girdles. Sears and Montgomery Wards would dedicate 5 pages to them in their catalog.

I must admit if I don't hit the bicycle this summer I will need one too!

Hmm, Not Hispanics but Puerto Ricans

"Puerto Ricans, both on the island and in the 50 states, take great pride in today's historic appointment. The story of Sonia Sotomayor is truly an inspiration."

-- House Delegate Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico)

Am I the Only Who Noticed This about Sotomayor?

Sonia gave kudos to her mother and to her Mother's husband. What's up with that?

She didn't call him her stepfather. Why?

I'm reading up on Judge Sonia Sotomayor

One of the things she isn't is an Immigrant. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens.

I am curious as to her view on illegal immigration. She came from very little and with no Spanish Language TV stations, she learned English. So I want to know her views on immigration, reparations, Affirmative Action, Eminent Domain and a bunch of other issues that affect my everyday life.

What A Difference An Explosion Makes




Boy Those Burris Activists Have A Lot of Egg on Their Faces

They defended him. They loved him. They didn't ask questions cause they just didn't care. Now he is proving as dirty as the man who appointed him. All to have the words "U.S. Senator" etched on his tombstone.

Remember the image of the frail black man being turned away from the Senate door? All to play to the emotionlism of black people.

Senator Burris is a one term joke!



Sen. Roland Burris was recorded on an FBI wiretap suggesting that he could write a check to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign before the ousted governor appointed Burris to the Senate.

The details of the conversation emerged after a federal judge said Tuesday he would allow the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee to hear a federal wiretap of former Blagojevich's brother, Rob, having a fund-raising conversation with Burris.

Sources tell CBS 2 the wiretapped phone conversation occurred on Nov. 18 while Blagojevich was still governor and before he named Burris to President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

Sources say that on the tape, Burris suggests that he could contribute, or have associates contribute, money to the Blagojevich campaign. Burris also expresses desire to be appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Burris' lawyer, Timothy Wright told CBS 2 that after that conversation, Burris decided against making any contribution. However, the Sun-Times reports that Burris never disclosed that information in an affidavit detailing his actions before he was appointed by Blagojevich.

Burris has been under intense scrutiny because of the circumstances of his appointment and for changing his story multiple times about whether he promised anything in exchange for the Senate seat.

The Senate Ethics Committee has begun a preliminary investigation. The Sangamon County State's Attorney is determining whether perjury charges are warranted.

U.S. District Chief Judge James F. Holderman on Tuesday unsealed a government motion requesting permission to release to the ethics committee wiretap material gathered in the Blagojevich investigation.

Rod Blagojevich is charged with scheming to trade or sell the seat and using the political muscle of his office to squeeze people for campaign money. Robert Blagojevich is under indictment along with his brother and a number of other members of the ousted governor's inner circle.

Holderman told attorneys for Robert Blagojevich, Burris and the government that "the material will be released to the Senate shortly."

Robert Blagojevich attorney Michael Ettinger and Wright did not object to the government's motion.

"I think that the senator has told the truth every time," Wright said. He acknowledged that his client had told the impeachment committee that he didn't volunteer to raise money for Blagojevich in exchange for the seat.

"And we think he has been perfectly consistent," Wright said.

Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor said the senator "has said all along he would cooperate in any way possible" and "welcomes this as a chance for more transparency and the opportunity for the full truth to come out."

The Sangamon County state's attorney's office said it has no comment on the status of its review of possible perjury charges against Burris.

Burris testified before the House Committee that impeached Blagojevich in January that he didn't promise anything in exchange for the Senate seat.

Blagojevich appointed Burris just before being kicked out of office.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed to seat Burris if he gave a full accounting of his Blagojevich contacts to the Illinois House committee that was considering impeachment.

Burris gave the committee an affidavit denying any discussion with Blagojevich's aides before being offered the seat. But when he testified, Burris acknowledged talking to one of Blagojevich's friends and informal advisers about it.

Burris did not admit talking to anyone else and said he could not recall any other contacts.

Then after he was sworn in, Burris released another affidavit, this time acknowledging he had talked to several Blagojevich advisers about his interest in the seat. Soon after, talking to reporters, he said he had been asked to help raise campaign money for the governor and that he tried to find people willing to donate but failed.

Then he stopped answering questions, letting others speak on his behalf.

Durbin says he isn't surprised a federal judge decided to allow the ethics committee to have wiretap conversations between former

Monday, May 25, 2009

African Immigrants Return Home

To me, this story emphasizes the "OPTIONS" that those who immigrate to this country have. They can come and they can go. But what about Americans citizens who have to deal with any and all after effects? We cannot be as a country be the landing spot when times are good and the departure spot for when times get rough.

For example, we are taxed to pay for X number of children. If those kids leave the country, the school board doesn't reduce the taxes. They find ways to spend the money in some other fashion. We are going backwards.

A Better Life Beckons in Africa
U.S. Downturn Drives Immigrant Professionals Back Home

By Stephanie McCrummen
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

KISUMU, Kenya -- With the U.S. economy in turmoil, his job as a truck driver no longer secure and his upwardly mobile life in the Dallas suburbs in jeopardy, James Odhiambo decided it was time for a change.

He wanted a healthier lifestyle for his family, less anxiety, fewer 14-hour days. So he recently traded his deluxe apartment, the pickup truck, the dishwasher and $4.99 McDonald's combos for life in a place he considers relatively better: sub-Saharan Africa.

"Right now I'm no stress, no anxiety," said Odhiambo, 34, relaxing in his family home in this western Kenyan city along the shores of Lake Victoria. "Think of it this way: When I was in the U.S., I was close to 300 pounds. Now, I'm like 200. The biggest thing for me was quality of life."

While that may seem counterintuitive to Americans accustomed to bleaker images of Africa, recent studies have documented the flight of immigrant professionals from the United States to their home countries. Chinese and Indian workers increasingly say they see better opportunities and lifestyles at home. And diaspora associations of Nigerians, Ghanaians, Kenyans and other Africans say their members -- mostly from middle-class backgrounds -- are joining the exodus, choosing life in the land of slow Internet connections and power outages over the pressures of recession-era America.

"I personally know many people who are going back," said Erastus Mong'are, who works as a program manager for an insurance company in Delaware and heads an association of Kenyans living there. "The people I know here work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, while in Kenya -- despite its problems -- people seem more happy. They seem to be getting more time with family. More relaxed. Here, if my neighbor sees I've parked in his spot, he becomes so upset."

In a broad sense, the return migration to Africa is in line with studies suggesting that despite persistent poverty and civil unrest in places such as Congo, Somalia and Sudan, much of the continent has been buoyed in recent years by a sense of optimism driven by economic growth. Pew Research Center studies tracking global attitudes have found that people's level of satisfaction with their quality of life is rising across much of Africa, while it has stayed level or decreased in the United States. For Odhiambo, disillusionment with the American way of life grew more or less with his waistline.

As a lean young man, he moved to the United States to attend a community college in Upstate New York, an idea nurtured by images of American life he saw on television growing up in a middle-class family in Kenya: "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Six Million Dollar Man," "Beverly Hills, 90210."

"You'd see all these manicured lawns, all this organization," he recalled on a recent day, while having a long lunch at an outdoor cafe without once looking at his watch.

He arrived in the mid-1990s with a sense of possibility in a land promising immigrants a better life. After college, he moved to Texas and worked as a long-haul truck driver, crisscrossing the country delivering auto parts, televisions, soda bottles and big containers from China. He marveled at innovations such as the car cup holder; he was inspired by government efficiencies that made it possible to get a driver's license in one day. And as his pay improved, he and his wife moved into a luxury apartment complex outside Dallas called Sonoma Grande at the Legends.

"It was really nice," Odhiambo recalled, noting that it had a pool, a Jacuzzi, a gym and other treats unheard of in Kenya.

But as his workdays grew longer, he hardly enjoyed any of those amenities. He worked 14-hour shifts trying to keep up with his $800 monthly rent, payments on a new Ford Ranger pickup, health insurance that did not cover a pair of tinted prescription glasses needed for long hours at the wheel, and bills driven by must-haves such as air conditioning.

"I couldn't get any exercise at all, and I was restricted to truck stops for food," he said. "I'd go for the buffet -- meat with gravy, fried chicken -- or fast food. I didn't have time for my daughters. In the movies, they only show one side of America."

His daughters were approaching school age, and they would have attended a public school with metal detectors and gangs. He said the alarmingly regular reports of shootings at schools, churches or offices frightened his family more than the post-election violence sweeping parts of Kenya at the time. The recession only confirmed a decision he and his wife had been mulling for a while: It was time to go.

Earlier this year, they packed up, explaining to their confused American friends that Congo's rebel fighting was thousands of miles from Kenya, and that no, Odhiambo is not a king back home.

And so, on this day, Odhiambo tooled around Kisumu, a medium-size city full of government workers and small-business people, street hawkers selling newspapers and vendors selling tennis shoes dangling from tree limbs. He drove the modest Toyota Starlet he bought for $1,500 cash past a minor traffic jam of bicycle taxis and people pushing carts loaded with plastic jugs of water.

"This city has grown, but they still have the water system from the colonial days," he said, not seeming to care.

He drove past a golf course and through an upscale neighborhood of bamboo hedges and pink bougainvillea, noting the few cars in driveways.

"Here, if you have a car, you'll share it with four or five people," he said. "In the States, if there are five people in the house, they have five cars. There's a lot of 'this is mine.' "

With the money he saved in the States, Odhiambo figures he has a six-month cushion during which he plans to start his own business -- a kind of private coast guard for Lake Victoria, modeled on the community fire stations in the United States. But because of the famously slow Kenyan bureaucracy, his business registration is taking weeks, leaving Odhiambo with something he rarely had in America -- time.

He is farming some in his mother's village, where he has another family home, and getting back into his old ham radio hobby. He enjoys afternoons watching small planes buzz in for a landing above the rolling green sugar and tea farms around Kisumu.

His family lives in his mother-in-law's tidy -- and paid for -- one-story, cinder-block house. There are no credit cards in Kenya, and mortgages are just catching on, so life mostly runs on cash.

"Here, you really can live on about $5 a day," Odhiambo said.

Instead of running a dishwasher, the Odhiambos wash their plates by hand. Instead of running an air conditioner, they open the windows. Instead of shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart, Odhiambo's wife heads to the local market and bargains for fresh tomatoes, onions and the Kenyan equivalent of collard greens, sukuma wiki. She has dropped four dress sizes.

"Here, you can't say 'Give me a number 4,' " he said, pulling into his neighborhood, where a few goats trotted along the dirt road, and some elementary-school children in gray uniforms shuffled home.

"See that?" he said. "Think of that! In America, you'd never let kids walk home" alone.

Odhiambo has noticed that his girls, who are 4 and 2 and will attend a private international school here, are becoming less leery of strangers and the outdoors in general, an attitude he says they learned in the United States.

"When we first got here, people would say, 'Why don't they go outside and play?' " he said. "They were scared."

Gradually, though, the family is relaxing.

"Right now, I'm just waiting for my business registration," Odhiambo said, savoring a warm sunset breeze. "Here, the pace is a whole lot slower."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Muslims Riot in Athens

The "immigrant" community all over the world has this belief that they can export what is acceptable in their native countries with impunity. If a rumor causes rioting, what will a reality bring?

Muslim migrants riot in Athens
May 24, 2009
Dozens of cars have been smashed, 14 people injured and 46 arrested in riots by Muslim migrants over the alleged defacing of a Koran by a policeman.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of protesters outside Parliament in the city centre.

Police said they would investigate the allegation that an officer tore up an Iraqi migrant's Koran while checking his identity papers in Athens last week. "But this isolated incident cannot justify these acts of violence," said Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis.

Waves of illegal immigration in recent years have led to an influx of Muslims, mostly from Pakistan and Afghanistan, living in run-down parts of central Athens. Greek rights activist Thanassis Kourkoulas said the protest showed the migrants "have a voice".

Saturday, May 23, 2009


See how stupid the village idiot can be! Now every neighborhood will be turning on every single fire hydrant and responsible adults can't even tell the fools that do it to go to the beach since the hours are now from 11:00 until 7:00.

I want the mayor to restrict his mayoring to the same hours. After 7:00 every night he loses police protection and any other perks. Let's reduce his hours and his salary. Maybe even to a part time job. I bet Rio de Janiero Brazil is sending out twitter messages that they're ocean beaches don't close down at 7 pm.

Maybe I'll call for the first ever Chicago Beach In. On a really hot day, the entire city will swarm to the lakefront. Oh wait, that is already cone. It's called the air and water show. That normally starts at 9:00 am. OMG, they're going to have to cut the time on the show because you can't have different rules for different events. If Chicagoans who live and pay taxes here 365/24/7 have limited access, then by golly everybody else should have it as well! And it's time to make people carry ID showing that they live in Chicago before they can take up space on our beaches!

And this has made me so mad that I'm cussing. Remember this come February, 2011 when the moron wants to be reelected to office!
Cutbacks and higher fees mark return to beach
Fees for lakefront fun are climbing in some suburbs as the city cuts its swimming hours to trim lifeguard costs
By James Janega

Tribune reporter

May 23, 2009

Nothing beats a cheap day at the beach.

But in a sour economy, some local beaches are cutting back hours and others are not so cheap.

Chicago has reduced its beach swimming hours by 30 percent, citing the cost of lifeguards.

Some North Shore towns are reacting to higher demand by adding lifeguards or expanding beach swimming areas -- but they're also charging non-resident visitors more.

Which adds up to an overcast outlook at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the beach season.

The Chicago Park District will save $700,000 over the summer by trimming hours for the city's 800 or so lifeguards, said Park District spokeswoman Marta Juaniza. Lifeguard times will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Swimmers face fines if they enter the water when lifeguards are not present.

Chicago's approach is unique for a major city and is "manifestly unwise," warned U.S. Lifesaving Association President B. Chris Brewster.

"The reason you've had lifeguards providing services at the time they have is because that's when history shows they're needed," he said. "The failure or absence of lifeguards means potentially death or serious injury. It's a bit unrealistic to expect that laws are going to resolve your public safety problems."

Juaniza said Park District statistics show the eliminated beach hours came at times when people weren't swimming, anyway.

"We did do the research and discovered a lot of people weren't coming to the beach until noon," Juaniza said.

Chicago expects 20 million visitors to its lakefront path and beaches this season, and opened a new beach Friday at 39th Street.

Beaches in Lake Forest and Wilmette are under increasing demand, and that has prompted those communities to change policies.

To pay for its increasingly burdened lifeguard staff, Lake Forest will charge a $10 flat fee to non-residents, officials say. It used to be free.

And this summer, Wilmette's Gillson Park is adding two more lifeguard chairs to a popular beach that keeps expanding southward. Fees also went up by 5 percent for residents and non-residents, said Kathy Bingham, Wilmette superintendent of recreation.

Along with shorter hours and higher fees, area beachgoers face the annual concern over high bacteria levels and closings.

Among the factors that contribute to beach closings are rainy weather, in which water runoff gathers pet waste and bird droppings to feed bacterial colonies in the lake, said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional beach program manager Holly Wirick. Other factors include the heavy presence of birds, trash, warmer water and beach shape.

Some beaches seem prone to closings. Of last season's 37 closings in Chicago, Park District records show Montrose Avenue Beach was closed 10 times, followed by 31st Street and Rainbow Beaches with four closings each.

Swim bans due to high bacterial counts have increased in recent years, Wirick said. So has monitoring, which in many cases has increased from once a week to five to seven days a week. But confirmation of dangerous bacterial counts takes 18 to 24 hours, meaning that swim bans are instituted a day too late and often unnecessarily, critics say.

In an attempt to detect problems more promptly, beaches in Lake County began in 2005 to also use SwimCast, a system that tracks lake conditions such as temperature, current and rainfall to flag situations in which bacteria flourish. Swim bans are then ordered immediately.

It's right more than 85 percent of the time, said Wirick. Similar models are in use in Ohio and Indiana, and a related software tool tested in Wisconsin last year soon will be available to beach managers around the Great Lakes, she said.

One of the next to use SwimCast will be Chicago. The city this year will collect data to make the system reliable at 63rd Street Beach, Juaniza said. But it will take at least a season of readings before officials start making closures based on the data.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Children will sneak out; I know. My son was 14- 15 when he snuck out and took my truck without my knowledge and went on a joy ride. The only reason I found out was because he backed the car back into the garage and ended up busting out the back window and hitting the back wall of the garage.

Still, this situation is disturbing. Who was the driver? Were they drunk? I don't believe the driver intended to hit the kid, but still what was the kid doing out so late?

CHICAGO - A 13-year-old boy was struck and killed early today by a speeding car that kept on going for blocks before finally stopping, officials and witnesses say.

Trenton Booker was riding his bike with a friend in the 8100 block of North Ashland around 1:30 a.m. when he was struck by a black Dodge Charger that was speeding south, according to officials and witnesses.

Brian D. Jackson and a friend said they were among a group of people standing outside a night club near the intersection of 81st and Ashland. The boy was riding his bike south down the second lane from the curb when a black Dodge Charger came up from behind at high speed, striking the boy near the intersection.

"The car never slowed down," Jackson said. "He didn't even have a chance to hit the brakes."

The collision threw the boy into the air, flipping him over several times before he hit the ground in front of a gas station more than 50 feet away, the witnesses said. Another young boy was riding his bike alongside Booker, they said, but he fled after the accident.

The driver continued south, swerving and still driving at high speed, as a crowd gathered around the boy's body, they said. The boy appeared to be dead upon impact, Jackson said.

A couple cars in the northbound lanes of Ashland turned around and tried to pursue the Charger, Jackson said.

Another witness, who declined to be named, said the stoplight had turned red before the accident occurred.

At Booker's house, about a mile from the collision, a steady stream of relatives brought food and condolences to the boy's mother, Barbara Norman, who greeted each person on her front steps wiping tears from her eyes this afternoon.

In the home's front yard, Trenton's father, Terrence Booker, struggled to describe what his only son looked like at the hospital after the crash.

"That car tore him to pieces," Booker said. "He was dead when he hit the ground."

Booker's mother last saw her son about 10 p.m. yesterday, Terrence Booker said, when he went to bed at his usual time, looking forward to a full Memorial Day weekend.

But sometime during the night, the teen snuck from his home and met up with two friends to ride their bikes, his father said. Norman didn't realize he was gone until early this morning, when police officers knocked on her door and told her the terrible news.

"He was supposed to be in the house," Booker said. "Where he was going, we have no idea."

Trenton was an 8th-grader at Cuffe Math, Science and Technology Academy, which can be seen from the front steps of his mother's home. His 8th grade graduation was scheduled for June 19, his father said.

Booker said the boy's family, which includes five sisters, was hungry for news about who had been driving the car that struck the teen, having heard only scant details from police. But anger flared in his eyes as he talked about how the driver left the scene.

"He's a scumbag," Booker said. "To blow through a light that fast and kill him on impact before he hit the ground and you keep going? You're not scared you're just trying to get out of a situation."

Trenton was pronounced dead at 1:41 a.m. at Holy Cross Hospital, officials said.

Black Woman Faces Firing Squad if Found Guilty

A PREGNANT Brit held on drugs charges in Laos will not face trial until she has told the truth about her baby's father.
Samantha Orobator will now stay behind bars after the case was postponed by the Laos Government.

The 20-year-old has been told she's got little chance of returning to the UK until she comes clean about who got her pregnant in the notorious Phonthong Prison for Foreigners in the capital Vientiane.

And now prisoners, including a 47-year-old Brit serving a life sentence for drugs trafficking, face the spotlight.

The Britain John Albert Watson, from Halifax, West Yorks, was Samantha's closest friend in the prison after she was sent there last August.

From the prison he has denied having sex with Samantha claiming: "It's impossible. I could not have done it. How could I have got to her?"

But a denial by the Laos authorities that there is free association between the sexes in the prison appears to be not totally frank.

Pics taken inside the prison show men and women are only separated by a flimsy wire fence.


Laos authorities have not ruled out the fact that Samantha may have impregnated herself with another prisoner's sperm to avoid the mandatory death sentence.

And after a blanket denial this week, through her mother Jane Orobator, that she was raped or had sex with a prison guard, Laos authorities have said they they have been compelled to investigate her pregnancy, as she had lied to them about it.

Drug Control Department Director, of the Minister of Public Security, Police Lt Col Khamphonh Sihaphancha said: "Everything will be postponed until everything is made clear."

"We will solve this case as soon as possible," he said, adding that Samantha had claimed she was sick and pregnant by a boyfriend in England last September.

Samantha, from Camberwell, South London, was arrested at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane on August 5, 2008, on her way to Sydney, Australia.

She had 680 grammes of heroin, contained in 68 capsules, hidden in different parts of her body.

Lt Col Khamphonh revealed, after details of her case were sent to the prosecutor last November, she was visited by an Aussie doctor seven times for health checks.

On each occasion the doctor passed security checks by prison guards.

Thai authorities at first even suspected the doctor as being the culprit but now officials have been forced to look for the suspect among the prisoners.

Watson's mum Pat is reported to have admitted she received a message three months ago telling her she would be a grandmother again.

She had allegedly described her son as being ecstatic and reported that male and female prisoners freely associated during the day.

Watson, who was jailed for trafficking in methamphetamines, has two children by a previous girlfriend. But they have been estranged since his arrest nearly four years ago, also at Wattay airport.

"Our challenge is to continue our search into the matter," Lt Col Khamphonh said.

The Laos authorities' belief that Samantha could have impregnated herself with another man's sperm has been fuelled because she had a syringe amongst her personal possessions, allegedly because she had "woman's problems".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Perhaps Alex Arellano Death is the Current Mode of Fashion?

OC gang member guilty of ordering torching death

Associated Press - May 21, 2009 2:25 PM ET

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A Santa Ana gang member has been convicted of murder in the killing of a gang rival whose body was burned after he was shot to death.

Jorge Andrade faces a sentence of life in prison after being found guilty Wednesday of murder and committing a felony while an active participant in a street gang.

Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Andrade and two fellow gang members kidnapped, then fatally shot 16-year-old Innocente Barrera in August 2004. They say Andrade then ordered that Barrera be left in a car and the vehicle set afire.

The two alleged accomplices are awaiting trial.

Information from: The Orange County Register,

Keep Natalie Cole in Your Prayers As She Recuperates!

Singer Natalie Cole was recuperating today after undergoing kidney transplant surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but her summer tour dates will be postponed while she recovers.

"The kidney came from a deceased organ donor through the regional organ procurement agency, One Legacy," according to a statement from the 59-year- old singer's publicists at Rogers & Cowan.

Cole was "resting comfortably," and she was expected to be recovering throughout the summer.

"Ms. Cole's physicians have advised her to postpone her summer tour dates as she recuperates for the next three to four months," according to the statement. "Further information about the re-scheduled dates will be available shortly."

Cole, who was diagnosed in February 2008 with hepatitis C -- a condition she attributed to her past battles with drug addiction, has been undergoing kidney dialysis three times a week since September. She told CNN's Larry King earlier this year that she was receiving aggressive chemotherapy to battle the hepatitis, but within four months, both of her kidneys failed.

The singer has been touring in support of her latest CD, "Still Unforgettable."

What Happened to the Black - Latino Coalition in California?

Dozens of Los Angeles-area Latino gang members accused of attacking blacks and law enforcement personnel were arrested today in what prosecutors called the ``largest gang takedown in United States history.''
The gang members and associates are charged with federal racketeering and drug-trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which has scheduled a late-morning news conference by U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien to discuss the case and display firearms seized during the raids.

Others expected to be on hand include representatives of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Hmmm, Sandi Lee Stevens-Jackson ON Jesse Jackson Junior's Payroll!

Yeah I know. All politicians do it. But I still look at a man who was barely overweight and lied about his weight loss procedure as suspicious. Now this. And what's up with Jacqueline Jackson, Jr.'s (yeah there a Jesse and Jacqueline Jackson namesake for each parent) hairline?????

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional campaign organization has paid his wife at least $247,500 since 2001, including at least $95,000 after Sandra Jackson joined the Chicago City Council two years ago, according to federal election records.

Jackson’s political committee also gave at least $298,927 in cash and in-kind contributions to Sandra Jackson’s campaign fund, which bankrolled her races for a city council seat that pays more than $100,000 per year and an unpaid position on the Cook County Democratic Committee.

Sandra Jackson, known as Sandi, received the $95,000 for political consulting after pledging during her campaign to give “my full attention” to the alderman’s post.

Jesse Jackson got a Federal Election Commission advisory opinion in 2001 saying his campaign could pay Sandi Jackson for consulting work without violating a ban on personal use of political donations. Even so, the Chicago Democrat’s fundraising is so entangled with his family’s interests that he’s pushing the limits of propriety, said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit ethics watchdog group.

“Much of this may be legal, but let’s refer back to an old quote: the scandal in Washington often is what’s legal,” said Sloan, whose group in 2007 reported on relatives who profit from their ties to members of Congress. “Mr. Jackson is availing himself of the full range of loopholes by which he can transfer money to his family.”

Aides say both Jacksons take care to avoid legal or ethical conflicts.

‘Unique Synergy’

“Congressman Jackson and Alderman Jackson are each other’s biggest supporters” and “do their best to follow all federal, state and local rules, laws and ethic codes,” Rick Bryant, a spokesman for Jesse Jackson, said in an e-mail.

The Jacksons have a “unique synergy which enhances the value and quality of life for the constituents they serve,” Sandi Jackson’s spokeswoman, Crystal Adkisson, said by e-mail. “Both the congressman and alderman take pride in being in compliance with federal, state and local laws, and rules and ethics codes.”

Jackson, 44, said last month he is the subject of a House ethics probe into his contacts with ousted Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich about the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Blagojevich faces federal charges that he tried to sell Obama’s seat.

A grand jury indictment of Blagojevich alleges that the then governor believed he could get as much as $1.5 million in political donations from Jackson supporters if he named the congressman to the job. Jackson has denied wrongdoing, saying he rejects “pay-to-play politics” and is cooperating “fully with any and all investigations related to this matter.”

Political Dynasty

Jesse and Sandi Jackson have been building a political dynasty as a power couple on Chicago’s South Side, sharing personnel and campaign assets.

Jesse Jackson hired Sandi Jackson’s chief of staff, Bonita Parker, as a “special assistant” on his taxpayer-funded congressional staff in April 2008, paying her $22,000 through March 31, federal records show. Over the same period, Parker made an annual city salary of $77,724 in 2008, which rose to $80,052 on Jan. 1, said Constance Buscemi, a city spokeswoman.

Parker left her part-time job in Jesse Jackson’s office as of March 31, said Bryant, who called her “uniquely qualified for the dual role because of her extensive experience in community service with the public and private sectors.”

Parker is former chief operating officer and said she is still on the board of the Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a civil rights group started by the congressman’s father, the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.

In a brief telephone interview May 19, Parker declined to comment about her employment by the Jacksons.

Voter ‘Favorite’

Last November, Sandi Jackson’s political committee paid for a statewide poll showing her husband as “the favorite” among Illinois voters to fill Obama’s Senate seat.

After his wife’s victory, Jesse Jackson opened a House district office down the hall from her aldermanic office. Bryant said the new location was picked for “accessibility and visibility.”

Jesse Jackson won a 1995 special election when he was 30 years old and has been re-elected to the House of Representatives seven times.

Sandi Jackson, 45, worked on Capitol Hill and in Democratic campaigns before marrying Jackson in 1991. She has been vice president for congressional and external affairs at the U.S. Export-Import Bank and deputy director of training for the Democratic National Committee.

‘Considerable Experience’

She was sworn in as alderman for Chicago’s Seventh Ward in May 2007. In February 2008, she won a separate election to be the Seventh Ward’s Democratic committeeman.

The FEC noted Sandi Jackson’s “considerable experience and expertise” in its July 17, 2001, opinion clearing Jesse Jackson to tap political contributions to pay his wife as a campaign consultant. Sandi Jackson got a payment for $3,500 11 days later.

In the advisory opinion, then-FEC Chairman Danny McDonald said Jackson told the agency in a phone conversation that his wife “will be working full-time for the campaign,” yet might do “occasional consulting work for her current non-political clients.”

Sandi Jackson has continued to get money, receiving $5,000 payments from her husband’s political committee in 19 of the 22 months between her swearing-in as an alderman and the end of March, the last month for which federal campaign-expense filings are available. The 2008 total of $55,000 was more than she received in any previous year.

Campaign Services

Bryant, of Jesse Jackson’s office, said Sandi Jackson provides “campaign-related services, such as fundraising and administrative support.”

Questioned during the City Council race about living in Washington, Sandi Jackson wrote on a campaign blog that, if elected, “it is my intention to reside full time in Chicago and to give the ward and its residents my full attention.”

Jesse Jackson’s FEC reports list payments as being made to J. Donatella & Associates, which Bryant described as “Sandi’s sole proprietorship” for her consulting work. The couple’s oldest child is 9-year-old Jessica Donatella Jackson.

From 2003 through mid-2005, the recipient is shown on Jackson’s reports as “Lee Stevens” or “Lee Steven” at the J. Donatella firm. Sandi Jackson’s middle name is Lee. Her maiden name is Stevens.

Different Names

“Using all these different names to describe the same person raises questions as to whether they’re intentionally disguising information on their FEC reports,” said Jan Baran, a Republican election lawyer at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington and a former FEC official.

Sloan, of the CREW group, said the filings create the appearance that Jackson “made efforts to hide some of the expenditures to his wife by using names different from how his wife is known.”

Bryant, of Jesse Jackson’s staff, said a “software glitch” during one reporting period caused the report to list “an abbreviated version of Sandi’s legal name, Sandra Lee Stevens Jackson.” In FEC records, variations of the Lee Stevens name appear on reports spanning parts of 2003, 2004 and 2005.

“Many lawmakers hire their relatives to perform campaign- related work,” Bryant said. “Clearly the arrangement is permissible, ethical, public and quite common.”

Financial Disclosures

Sandi Jackson identified the J. Donatella firm as a source of outside income on her 2007 financial disclosure with Chicago’s city clerk.

Jesse Jackson listed his wife’s firm on personal finance disclosures for 2001, 2002 and 2003, but didn’t mention her consulting work on filings for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Earlier this year, Jackson amended those reports, saying the Donatella firm was omitted by mistake.

While he isn’t the only candidate to hire a relative for campaign work, Jackson was the first to obtain an FEC opinion on the practice, agency spokeswoman Judith Ingram said. Since 2001, “it appears that many candidates are relying on” the opinion’s guidance, she said.

In addition to payments for consulting work, Jesse Jackson’s political committee has transferred more than $227,000 to Sandi Jackson’s campaign organization since October 2006, according to his campaign reports. He provided in-kind benefits of $71,914, including billboard space worth about $66,000.

Campaign Funding

Federal election laws permit members of Congress to contribute their campaign funds to candidates for state and local offices. Jesse Jackson requested an FEC opinion in 2007, which said he also could give unlimited amounts to Sandi Jackson’s race for her Democratic Party post.

The congressman got some reciprocal benefit when the “Friends of Sandi Jackson” campaign bankrolled a Zogby International poll that showed Jesse Jackson atop a list of 10 possible contenders to replace Obama in the Senate. Sandi Jackson’s campaign reports show almost $26,000 paid to Utica, New York-based Zogby two days before polling began.

Kenneth Edmonds, Jesse Jackson’s chief of staff, said by e- mail that the Jacksons are “now reviewing the circumstances of the poll, to determine whether reimbursement is appropriate.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy J. Burger in Washington at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


An Indian father with seven daughters has not washed for 35 years to help ensure his next child will be a boy.

Will a rubber ducky help?
Kailash Kalau Singh told a friend that a “seer” once told him 35 years ago if he did not take a bath he would be blessed with a male child, according to Hindustan Times. So he stopped.

Instead of washing with water, Singh bathes by standing with one leg beside a bonfire and smokes marijuana while praying to Lord Shiva. The “fire bath” helps to kill germs and infection, he claims.

The 63-year-old man’s professional life suffered when customers of his grocery store stopped shopping there due to his “unhealthy personality.” He had to close the store and now tills fields in the holy city of Varanasi.

Kalau claims his commitment to not bathing was due to national interest. He vows to end his pledge when all problems confronting the nation end. His neighbors in the village of Chatav differ and say his washing boycott really is about his suspicions and not having a son.

Most Indians prefer sons, who are typically regarded as breadwinners, while girls are seen as a burden because of the matrimonial dowry demanded by a groom’s family and the fact that their earnings go to their husband’s family.

Child being Smuggled Into USA Found Dead - Is This Child Endangerment?

If I did anything to put my child in danger, DCFS would be on my butt like white on rice. Shouldn't this family be arrested and jailed for Child Endangerment? Or some degree of manslaughter? This is reprehensible!


Family members of a teenager being smuggled in from Guatemala found him dead Thursday in a pickup left at a park in southwest Houston, authorities said.

A woman called the family about 3 p.m., saying their 15-year-old brother was in Houston. They could meet him at Arthur Storey Park, 7400 W. Sam Houston Pkwy S., Houston police said.

"They were told that he was dehydrated and they needed to bring water," said Sgt. Colin Howard, with the HPD homicide division.

The family didn't know how much money they should bring to pay the smugglers, Howard said.

"Money was mentioned, but no amount," Howard said.

The teenager, who has not been identified, was in the back seat of a Ford pickup truck. There was no sign of the smugglers, police said.

The cause of death has not been determined but police said there was no indication that he had been shot.

A family member in Guatemala called about 15 days ago, saying the teenager was making his way to Houston, police said.

The Ford pickup is registered to a local address but HPD investigators said they don't believe it was the vehicle used to smuggle him into the United States.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477


Do As I Say And Not As I Do. That seems to be the current acknowledged and unacknowledged philosophy of our politicians. The recent revelation that Cook County Board President Todd Stroger owes over $11,000 in past due taxes and penalties is a classic example of that philosophy.

One would assume that with President Todd Stroger making over $175,000 a year and his wife making nearly $50,000 a year, that it would be a piece of cake for them to make the $11,000 payment. All they need to do is hunker down for a couple of weeks and voilà! Money saved and tax bill paid off.

Of course that is the logic our politicians readily use whenever they use their willy-nilly logic process of deciding that we the overtaxed and overburdened residents of Crook – oops I mean Cook County can do. As they vote to make us pay more, they always claim that a few extra pennies paid here and there is easy for us to make. No regards is given to how we must all adjust our “quality of life” as we are nickel and dimed out of every possible amount.

Strangely, even though President Todd Stroger owes what amounts to a two week paycheck, he needed a payment plan to pay the money. What’s up with that?

Another interesting assertion being made by some is that the current emphasis on President Todd Stroger’s situation is just “racism” over “politics”. Now I can never deny the role race plays in anything. Race is always the hidden agenda in everything that goes on.

But the importance of race must always be tempered with the reality that stupidity trumpets over both race and politics. And in my opinion, President Stroger is representing stupidity at its basic core.

Here’s a question that we all should be asking. If you can’t run your household budget, how in the heck can you run the county’s budget? Now I know that many feel that we shouldn’t criticize President Todd Stroger. But I am offended that he used his own version of “racial politics” by claiming that without the increase, hospitals and clinics would be closed down and implied that black people by default would be the ones to bear the brunt of a reduced county healthcare system.

Even more offensive was a recent news conference that had about twenty black ministers protesting against the County Board’s decision to hold a vote to override President Stroger’s veto. This column by the way was written before the final outcome.

Where is the “rainbow” coalition to support President Todd Stroger? Closing of hospitals and clinics wouldn’t just affect poor black people. So where were all the other ethnic groups when those black ministers stood protesting against the county board? Why is it that everyone else benefits and only blacks protest? And when blacks protests, whey are we so comfortable to always include those who don’t even show up to the table?

Now not all in the black community are so gullible as to be persuaded to not look into what is going on with the President Stroger and ask the hard questions. Like how come Tony Cole; the ex-felon, ex-busboy, ex-basketball star who got a $61,000 a year job with the county really got the job. And how come he did so after lying on his job application about his criminal background?

Or asking why President Todd Stroger fired his cousin Donna Dunning who bailed Tony Cole out of jail several times. What is her real relationship to Tony Cole? How is it that Tony Cole had the ability to call President Stroger directly every time he needed bailing out of jail.

And what exactly is the relationship between Tony Cole and Todd Stroger?

And even more curious is that several years ago when rumors were flying that the FBI wanted to talk with him, Orlando Jones a “godson” to Ex-President John Stroger allegedly took his own life on a beach in Michigan. What is really going on at that county board?

Rumors are flying and swirling that certain black politicians are clamoring for Todd Stroger’s job. Those individuals are not unknown aldermen who would need to elevate their profile because of the name recognition factor. Rather there are some bigger fish in the sea and they are circling around jostling for position.

Pay attention Chicago. That County Board which used to be the area of government that no one paid attention to is now the hottest event in town. And to keep it hot, all we have to do is pay attention to what they are up to.

The pennies in our pockets will glow even redder as they heat up from the politicians fighting to decide if we should get to spend those pennies or if the politicians will just take the pennies from us.

American Idol Winner Kris Allen - Heterosexuality Wins Out?

Just before the winner was announced, I looked and said to myself as Adam Lambert and Kris Allen stood side-by-side that all the little girls who wanted a boyfriend would vote for the boy who could one day be their boyfriend and not the eye make up wearing; black fingernail polish sporting Adam Lambert.

An Embarassment To Society

And what did the OBAMA T-SHIRT have to do will all of this????? He didn't GIVE IT TO THEM, SELL IT TO THEM OR IS EVEN MAKING A PENNY OFF OF IT.

Three bank robbery suspects who police say took them on a wild chase on the Bishop Ford Expressway Tuesday and allegedly took part in a shootout that injured a Calumet City police officer were brought to federal court in Chicago today to face bank robbery and gun charges.

One suspect appeared in court with a blood-soaked bandage after being shot himself. Another wore a President Obama T-shirt in court that read: "The Greatest Dream has come true." All three suspects -- Harvel Harris, 19, of Harvey, Antonio Pickens, 19 and Leandre Earl, 30, both of Matteson -- were ordered held without bail pending a hearing next week.

The three men were charged in Tuesday's holdup of a Citibank branch at River Oaks Mall in the south suburb. They're accused of stealing $23,174 before making off in a four-door Cadillac.

The Cadillac blew a tire and crashed at 130th, near Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve and the adjacent Carver Military Academy High School. Authorities say the suspects jumped out and shot one of the officers, who was wounded in the leg.

Pickens was arrested near the crash scene. The other suspects were captured within hours.

Earl was allegedly hiding in a swamp as a helicopter circled overhead. Earl, who suffered a bullet wound, came to court dressed with a white bandage with blood visibly soaked through. He wore jeans and a yellow hospital gown with no shirt underneath.

Harris came to court wearing the Obama T-shirt -- the same one authorities said he'd just bought at a liquor store before being captured by police.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Thank you for having once been a part of my life. You have always been an inspiration to me as I seek social and economic justice.

University of Chicago Clinic Closing

It is a sad commentary on the mindset of people who are on goverment assisstance when they belive that the same services and benefits private insurance pays for is what they will get with their "Medical Card" from the state. It was pretty sad to see the women who normally went to the UOC clinic acting as if they were entitled to the medical service and how they didn't want to go to the other "free" clinics because they weren't as nice.

Our current economic situation is going to have to bring about a whole bunch of new realities to people who have been sucking at the tit of the taxpayers. The free ride is over. A medical card is not Blue Cross Blue Shield. You cannot get pricy care with your state medical card when the taxpayers are becomming fewer and fewer as layoffs take place.

It is time if we want premium health care to pay for it and to support it. Otherwise Provident Hospital would have never been sold to the county. If you can pay for cell phones and lace hair weaves, you can pay for medical care.

Monday, May 18, 2009

OMG! He Is Not The Baby's Father!

DNA tests have revealed that a 13-year-old British boy who claimed to have fathered a child with his 15-year-old girlfriend was not the dad, according to a court judgement made public Monday.
Claims that baby-faced schoolboy Alfie Patten made Chantelle Steadman pregnant when he was aged just 12 triggered national soul-searching about Britain's high level of teenage pregnancies.

But the story, reported in February just days after the birth, sparked claims from other boys who lived nearby that they could also be the father and social workers organised a DNA test.

The results, revealed in a high court judgement last month which was only made public Monday, showed the father was 15-year-old Tyler Barker, who lived on the same housing estate as Steadman in Eastbourne in southern England.

Patten had admitted to the Sun newspaper that he had not thought about how he and his girlfriend would support baby daughter Maisie Roxanne, who was born on February 9, but said: "I will be good though, and care for it."

The four-foot (1.22-metre) schoolboy was "extremely distressed" when he was told in March that he was not the father, the court judgement revealed.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Olympics Threaten Collins Gym
Newstip Date: 05-08-2009

[UPDATE: Chicago 2016 has cancelled its participation in the Lawndale town hall meeting - see Newstips 2.0.]

Will the 2016 Olympics force students in North Lawndale to give up their only high school gymnasium?

That's one of the questions to be raised Tuesday, when representatives of Chicago 2016 and No Games Chicago meet publicly for the first time on a panel at a town hall sponsored by the Lawndale Alliance.

Lawndale residents only recently learned that Olympics planners intend to demolish the gymnasium of the Collins high school campus to make room for a $37 million, 6,000-seat indoor bicycle track in Douglas Park, said Valerie Leonard of the Lawndale Alliance.

The Collins school building, which houses the Collins Academy High School and a campus of North Lawndale College Prep, is the only building in North Lawndale that was built as a high school, Leonard said. Other high schools in the community share campuses with grammar schools and use park facilities for physical education and sports.

"When push comes to shove, it's never the kids' interests that come first," she said. She's concerned that, with sanctions recently threatened for the struggling North Lawndale College Prep, the high school building itself could be in jeopardy.

Chicago 2016 did not respond to a request for comment.

Chicago 2016 neighborhood director Arnold Randall will join Tom Tresser of No Games Chicago and 24th Ward Alderwoman Sharon Dixon at the Lawndale town hall meeting, Tuesday, May 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at Dvorak School, 3615 W. 16th.

The Olympics town hall is the first of three planned for this month by the Lawndale Alliance. On Tuesday, May 19, representatives of local nonprofits will discuss the foreclosure crisis and what the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program will mean for the community. On the next Tuesday, May 26, Leonard will give a report from available information on the seven TIFs impacting North Lawndale.

After agreeing to participate in the town hall meetings, the city's Department of Community Development recently cancelled its participation, Leonard said.
More Info:

Valerie F. Leonard at Lawndale Alliance, 773-521-3137


May 11th, 2009

After confirming their participation last month, Chicago 2016 called this morning to withdraw from tomorrow night’s Lawndale Alliance town meeting on the Olympics, organizer Valerie Leonard said. The group’s neighborhood director Arnold Randall was to have appeared with a representative of No Games Chicago for the first time. (See Friday’s Newstip for background.)

The Olympics organization said it would only participate in meetings sponsored by the Chicago Park District in conjunction with the Douglas Park Advisory Council, Leonard reported in a statement.

She said the most recent Douglas Park council meeting included no members of the council, a handful of North Lawndale residents, and a large contingent of bicyclists from outside the community pushing to make the proposed Olympic velodrome a permanent bicycling facility. She said Lawndale residents spoke in favor of using the facility for “sports that are more culturally relevant to the current population.”

How Much "HOOD" is in YOU? My Score was 82.

Some of you spoiled 80's babies don't know nothing about this

How much HOOD do you have in you??

1. You've ever used an album cover for a dustpan.
(5 points)

2. If you've ever run a race barefoot in the middle of the street.
(10 points)

3. You had a candy lady in your neighborhood.
(5 + 5 extra points if your house was the candy lady)

4. If you ever had to pick your own switch or belt.
(3 points for each)

5. If you have ever had to walk to school or walked home from school.
(2 points)

6. If you have ever used dishwashing liquid for bubble bath.
(5 points)

7. If you ever mixed Kool-Aid one glass at a time because you got tired
of other people drinking up the Kool-Aid you just made.
(5 points)

8. If you have ever played any of the following games:
hide and go seek, freeze, tag, Momma may I? or red light/green light.
(2 points each)

9. If your neighborhood had an ice cream man.
(2 points + 2 if he rang a bell)

10. If you refer to "Now and Later" candies as "Nighladers".
(5 points)

11. If you've ever run from the police on foot.
(5 points + 5 if you got away)

12. If you've ever had reusable bacon grease in a container on your stove..
(5 points + 15 if you still do it)

13. The batteries in your remote control ever been held in by a piece of tape.
(5 points)

14. If you have ever worn any of the following fragrances Brute, Hai
Karate, Jean Nate, Old Spice, Chloe, English Leather, Stetson, Charlie, or
(1 point each):

15. You've ever used Tussy Deodorant.
(5 points)

16. You've never been to the dentist.
(15 points)

17. If you have a friend or family member whose nickname is one word said
twice: dee-dee, fee-fee, man-man, Kay-Kay, lee-lee, ree-ree, ray-ray,
nay-nay, tee-tee etc.
(10 points)

18. You have ever paged yourself for any reason.
(3 points)

19. You've ever worn house shoes outside of the house.
(2 points)

20. You add "ED" or "T" to the end of words already in the past tense
(e.g. Tooked, Light-Skinneded, kilt, ruint, etc.)
(5 points)

21. You use 'n'em to describe a certain group of people
( for example Craig'n'em or Momma 'n'em).
(5 points)

22. You've ever driven on a donut more than 2 weeks after your flat.
(5 points)

23. You have ever slept in a chair to avoid messing up your hair.
(10 points)

24. You've ever left a social gathering with a plate.
(2 points)

25. You can't hold a glass because of the length of your nails.
(5 points)

26. The gold teeth in your mouth spell words.
(10 points)

27. You don't have your own place but your child has a leather coat and a
pair of Jordan 's.
(15 points)

28. You constantly hit *69 and ask, "Did you just call here?"
(10 points)

29. You think Tupac is still alive.
(20 points)

30. If you are going to have to use a calculator to add your points.

-- Now the totals...
0 - 50 points - I guess you were raised in the suburbs

51 - 75 points - A bonafide ex-hood rat

76 - 150 points - Spent a little time in the projects, huh?

150 points or more - Still there, huh?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hiding Serious Murders by Labeling them Chicago Public School Students

I am bothered by a trend that has been occurring lately. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I can’t say exactly when the trend started, although it has been occurring for the past couple of years. The trend that is upsetting me is the tendency by the media to group any teenager killed as a “Chicago Public School Student”.

I’m sure you have heard it too. Rather than do true “news” reporting and tell the facts, any young person who is killed is now linked to the CPS and not a community, gang or any other reason for the murder. Like the case of Alex Arellano, the young 15-year-old who was found last week stabbed, beaten by bats, hit by a car, shot in the head and burned beyond recognition. He hadn’t attended a CPS since September, 2008. That’s almost a full attendance year.

What bothers me about the media calling those killed a CPS student is that 99% of the time, the CPS have nothing to do with the murder. The young person isn’t on CPS property or even killed leaving school. The only link is that the person is attending or may have attended CPS. But then again, we can call the children killed a variety of titles. They are also “Chicago residents”, “taxpayers”, “future voters” and on and on.

I am bothered when anybody in the City of Chicago is murdered. I am especially disturbed when young people who should be seen as the foundation of our future are murdered. The case of Alex Arellano is more disturbing than any I’ve seen or heard about in years. This kid wasn’t just killed; he was slaughtered – up close and personal. There is a lot of hatred for someone to hit you with a bat, stab you with a knife, run you over with a car and take a shotgun and shoot you in the head. Then as the final act of retribution, they set your dead or dying body on fire with gasoline to be burned beyond recognition.

Do we really want this heinous crime to also contain the label of CPS student? Or should we call it exactly what it was. A gangland killing of such a terrorist proportion that the federal government needs to intervene so that whoever is responsible is not only captured, convicted but also given the ultimate punishment – the death penalty. Whoever killed Alex Arellano needs to be in the same sort of Guantanamo prison that this country is so quick to do with other “alleged” terrorist from Muslim countries.

Now I do have to give news outlets that printed the picture of Alex Arellano throwing gang signs a basic “kudos”. The picture taken from his MySpace page sheds some light on why he may have been murdered. He was displaying his gang’s sign with his right hand and a rival gang’s sign upside down with his left. An apparent insult to the other gang. I am tired of parents whose children are the recipients of gangland justice being in denial as to what their children are doing. Gangs are not the Chicago police. They don’t respect your rights. They don’t ask with a pleading plea of “please”. They’re not looking for an apology when they feel disrespected. Rather they solve all their issues with violent actions.

One of the reasons that I am tired of hearing all murders tied to the CPS is because it seems to indemnify neighborhoods and groups from responsibilities when it comes to the murder. In the case of Alex Arellano, I found it perplexing that the Hispanic community has shown a total lack of outrage over this murder. Now if you juxtaposed his murder with the raid a year ago by the FBI on a fake document ring at a Little Village shopping mall, no sooner had the raid taken place when hundred of Hispanic activists took to the streets in protest. Their concerns; the FBI had guns; they raided a store in broad daylight; children were afraid and parents were crying. The Hispanic community filled with “undocumented workers” wouldn’t be afraid or intimidated. They have rights.

So where are those same activists now that one of their own was beaten with a bat, stabbed with a knife, run over by a car, shot in the head and then burned to a crisp? Where is the outrage over the killers still walking the streets? Whoever killed Alex Arellano took the time to find five different ways to kill him. Beating him with a bat wasn’t enough. Stabbing him with a knife just didn’t fill the bill. Hitting him with the car wasn’t satisfying. Shooting him with a shotgun did kill him; but it still wasn’t deemed enough to satisfy their blood thirst. Setting him on fire was their final despicable act and even then, they were bold enough to do it in the gangway of an abandoned bungalow in a crowded neighborhood filled with children and families and not in the hidden confines of some out of the way spot.

Alex Arellano didn’t deserve to die the kind of death that was meted out to him. Nor do any of us deserve to have those kinds of killers walking the streets. Whoever killed Alex Arellano has been emboldened by their actions. There has not been a public outcry to find the killers. In fact the silence from the Hispanic community almost gives his murderers an okay for what they did. Plus we also need to know all the reasons for his murder in such a heinous fashion. Were the killers sending a message and to whom? Is his murder the newest “standard” for gangland slayings? How many 911 calls were or were not made as the kid was being beaten by the bats? How many calls were made or not made when he was being stabbed? Didn’t anyone call police as he was being chased and hit by the car? Or call the police when the sound of a shotgun blast was sent into his head? Didn’t anyone hear or smell his body smoldering as it burned or do anything about it?

Pay Attention Chicago. The long hot summer is beginning and until we rise up and take back our streets, Alex’s mode of murder may just be the beginning.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Pay Attention Chicago - Pay Attention

Lease off city assets, Lie, Cheat and Steal from the city budget. Pay the head cop twice the salary anyone deserves for the job. Sit back and watch while black workers are replaced by illegal aliens, pay no attention to the fact that the mayor wants to keep schools opened year round (schools will need air conditioning, teachers lives will be affected, parents lives as well) and now the mayor claims workers besides getting a three week vacation want them to take off three weeks without pay?

I suggest that the city no longer have Pulaski Day and a number of other non Federal holidays!

How is it that technology has reduced the number of workers and yet the city's budget continue to soar and soar? All those lawsuits paid out does add up. Building huge police department edifices that take up blocks of commercial land like the new 15th district - again a waste of resources - all add up to the total mismanagement of the monies going to the city of Chicago.

Perhaps we can update the mayor's job and make it part time? Can we save money taking away his 24 hour police protection. Does the mayor really need to be driven around in a car paid for by the city? We do have a wonderful public transportation system.


Mayor Daley order: Up to 16 unpaid days off for some city workers to ease budget crunch
Applies to nonunion staff, unions facing pressure to match

May 7, 2009

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley today will order 3,500 nonunion employees to take up to 16 days off without pay by Dec. 31, turning up the heat on union leaders to agree to similar concessions.

Last month, Daley threatened to lay off 1,600 city employees -- none sworn police officers or firefighters -- unless organized labor agrees to another round of givebacks to erase a $300 million shortfall.

» Click to enlarge image Mayor Daley plans to order 3,500 nonunion employees to take up to 16 days off without pay, and is asking some of the unions to do the same thing.
(John J. Kim/Sun-Times)

They were asked to pick their poison from a $68.9 million menu that includes two furlough days a month for nine months ($24.9 million); comp time instead of cash for overtime ($17.8 million); making six remaining 2009 holidays unpaid ($9 million); a 5 percent pay cut ($12.9 million) and eliminating the July 1 increase in the prevailing wage ($12.9 million).

So far, none of the unions has agreed to cuts. Some are concerned about how city givebacks would impact private-sector negotiations. Others want a guarantee that, if concessions are granted, there won't be layoffs for the next two years.

Daley is apparently tired of waiting for an answer.

The mayor plans to turn up the heat today by ordering nonunion employees to take up to 16 days off without pay -- through a combination of furlough days, elimination of paid holidays and sick days.

City employees not otherwise covered by collective-bargaining agreements get 12 paid sick days each year, which many choose to stockpile. They also get 12 paid holidays each year.

"We can't control the unions. But this is a piece we can control," said a top mayoral aide, who asked to remain anonymous.

"We're facing a serious budget deficit. The unions will have to help us, or there will be layoffs."

Daley's 2009 budget was precariously balanced by laying off 420, eliminating 1,600 vacancies, slowing police hiring and raising taxes, fines and fees by $52.5 million.