Arne Duncan To Be Named Education Secretary

This morning we hear that President Elect Obama is going to be at Dodge Academy, one of the schools in the CPS. Obviously to announce what everyone thought he would announce, that is Arne Duncan to head the Department of Education.

Why is WGN still running the same advertising commercials with Spike O'Dell? All you have to do is watch WGN news at 9 and see the commercials run.

Wow what a week we have had, first Steve Dahl gives his final morning radio show, a very unexpected departure, then Spike O'Dell leaves WGN mornings the next week on his morning show, but this was because of his planned retirement. So I am adjusting to not waking up with Spike, or listening to Steve on my way to work. John Williams who took Spikes place is good, but he's not Spike or Steve.

In between all of this our Governor gets arrested for trying to sell President Elect Obama's senate seat.

After such a fantastic event of having our very own President from this State, the last one being Abraham Lincoln, we get Governor Rod Blagojevich arrested for trying to replace Obama's Senate seat in his own way.

Now the State of Illinois is back in national news, this time not for something great as in Obama's win for the Presidency but for some of the most low down corrupt activity by our Governor.

Impeachment proceeding will go on by a vote of 113 to none in our State House. They will only take off for Christmas Eve and Day and New Year's Eve and day and work throughout what is normally the winter break.

Wow what a week this State has had.

CHICAGO (CBS) ― President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan to head the Department of Education.

CBS 2's Mike Parker reports that Obama is expected to make the announcement Tuesday morning at Dodge Renaissance Academy on the city's west side.

Duncan visited the outgoing Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, but insisted the call was a purely social one.

CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports Duncan frequently plays basketball with the Obama. And Obama said previously he might name him to the cabinet as education secretary.

Duncan told reporters in D.C. Dec. 4 he had no idea who Obama would pick for the job. But he praised his basketball buddy, saying Obama "has an unbelievably thoughtful, comprehensive [education] plan, and there's a real opportunity to do something special going forward."

Obama will be looking to the veteran CEO of the Chicago public schools to implement the reform agenda the president-elect campaigned on, including performance-based pay for teachers – something unions tend to dislike – and letting 1,000 flowers bloom, so to speak, when it comes to new types of taxpayer-supported schools.

Duncan is known in education circles nationally as an innovative reformer. In Chicago, he's tried to improve a system that one former education secretary called the worst schools in America.

"Arne Duncan has, obviously, a good national reputation," school reformer Linda Lenz said. "Chicago for a long time has been seen as the place to try new and exciting things."

Thoughts from the week

First thought if Daley is going to lease the parking meters, and the company taking over the meters will raise the rates and charge on Sundays and Holidays. So ...then why can't the city just do this? Why do you need to have a company take over and raise rates and make you pay every single day?

Blagojevich was taped negotiating for a campaign contribution, kickback to a lobbyist, from one of his close friends lobbyist, John Wyma. John Wyma, covering his butt, must have a lot to hide So will we see Pat Quinn, now Lt. Governor, as Governor sometime during the rest of Blagojevich's term?

The next story brought this thought to mind. Everywhere on the news in Chicago reporters have been saying this airport is big, almost the size of Midway. So why are they talking about Peotone as a third airport, where no ground has been broke? And why wasn't this airport, DuPage, considered as a third airport? From what I hear all it needs to do is be utilized more. I have never been out there, but from what I understand it is a lot closer to Chicago than Peotone, and there is a high population around it that would certainly use it.

Also thoughts on the following story, as if Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff did not have enough problems, now he has a lot of seriously criminal Cook County Sheriff's Officers. Also Harvey was not know as a great place to live, and property values have plummeted. What will this do to an already poor image of Harvey as being a place to live?

In Bloomintong Illinois, right next to Normal Illinois, home of Illinois State Universtiy, someone is collecting reindeer terd, and making Christmas ornaments with it. Really, sell it for fertilizer if you must, but ornaments?

This is not the way to go green and recycle
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Christmas ornaments for sale at the Miller Park Zoo's gift shop are partly manufactured by reindeer. Honest!
Staffers make decorations out of droppings from the zoo's two reindeer, Ealu and Rika. The droppings are dried, then clear-coated and either painted or rolled in glitter.
Zoo marketing director Susie Ohley has named the products "magical reindeer gem ornaments," and each comes with a label of authenticity. They cost $5 at the zoo gift shop.
Staffer Katie Buydos, who makes jewelry as a hobby, donated wire and beads, saying, "Susie asked me to bring some creativity to the table."

Some folks are surprised at the size of the "gems," which are only about as big as marbles. "Reindeer are so big," zoo maintenance worker Sheldon Williams said. But the droppings are "just a big pile of small."

Dick Durbin needs to meet with Patrick Collins

Yesterday I heard Dick Durbin is pleading for the pardon of George Ryan, again claiming Ryan has a sick wife to care for. George Ryan was on multiple visits out of the country and in the country, all without his sick wife he had to care for. There are numerous pictures of Ryan having a good time, without his wife. Right before George Ryan was put away he was seen at sky boxes at Bears games, without his wife. Dick Durbin needs to sit down with the lead prosecutor Patrick Collins before he pursues a pardon for George Ryan, I am quite sure he will stop asking for a pardon. And what kind of mixed message is Durbin giving us, free Ryan but keep Fitzgerald as US Attorney? Again Durbin needs to have lunch with Patrick Collins, maybe over a hamburger at Charlie Trotter's?

The Antoin “Tony” Rezko jury reaffirmed that the Illinois way of doing business for far too many public officials and their associates is unacceptable. What remains to be seen is whether the verdict will change the systemic public corruption that demoralizes citizens and ultimately disengages them from their government.

Sadly, there is ample reason to be pessimistic.

One of the many disheartening facts coming from the Rezko trial was this: At the same time that a high-profile corruption investigation—culminating in the conviction of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan and some of his high-ranking cronies—was exposing the corrupt underbelly of our state government, a number of people affiliated with the Blagojevich administration were engaging in similar, if not more brazen, acts. The Rezko trial showed that Illinois’ bipartisan corruption virus is a particularly resistant strain.
in his own words, Patrick Collins

And the rumor mill is at full till in Illinois.
- The latest Rahn Emanuel's Congress seat is being considered by Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley.
- Jesse Jackson Jr. is off the short list as a Senate replacement for Obama.
- Bill Daley on a Chicago tonight interview with Carol Marin said he is not interested in going to Washington, but danced around the possibility of running for Governor.
- Alexi Giannoulias, the very cute Illinois State Treasurer considering running for Governor.
- Lisa Madigan considering running for Governor.
- And many more to come out of the woodwork to consider running for Governor.

And lest we not forget the Toddler, aka Todd Stroger, wants to borrow money for Cook County to balance the budget. Yep more debt because his really high sales tax did not generate enough money.

With so many rumors going on around here I am surprised at this one, I have even heard people say Blagojevich should appoint Fitzgerald to the Senate seat Obama opened up, to get him out of here, rather out of Blagojevich's hair.

There are so many openings in this state for political positions. The Senate appointment may create another opening. If Jesse Jackson Jr. gets it that leaves his Congressional seat open.
Some say Emil Jones, soon to be former State Senate President, retired for a reason, maybe another Senate seat?
Rahm Emanuel leaves a congressional seat open, possible contestants for it are two of the Cook County Commissioners, either Forrest Claypool or Mike Quigley. That may lead to a CC Comish seat being opened up for anointment/appointment, (interchangeable terms here).
Then there is the Governor's race, and really who hasn't been mentioned? Every day I hear another one.
Not to mention the fact that Obama still has not picked his staff in DC. How many more will exit and leave a vacancy?

Since we have not had a President from Illinois in the lifetime of it's residences we get to hear more of each and every move Obama makes on local news. We are at an advantage of knowing the appointments from this State. We have been seeing many interviews re-run that Barak Obama did before he was ever in the running for President.
I would not want to live in his neighborhood, with all the police and secret service visibly there and blocking off many roads this must be a headache for the locals.

A big news event, Porter Airlines is now at Midway. This is good that after loosing ATA Midway is getting another airline, but I am surprised at how few jobs will be created because of it. But it will bring in revenue to the Airport, any is better than none.

Only 20 more jobs with this?

Porter Airlines made its debut in Chicago Wednesday under a water canon salute.

The airline is providing 20 new jobs to Chicagoans and service between Chicago and Toronto where Porter is based.

"Midway has not seen service to Canada in nearly 20 years, so it's a milestone on two fronts - international service to Midway and new service to Canada," said Erin O'Donnell, Chicago Aviation Department.

Officials on both sides of the border hope the new airline will further enhance the relationship between the U.S. and its number one trading partner.

"The U.S. exports four times as much to Canada as we do to China," said John Nay, U.S. Consul General. "It's that big, and it's that important to the U.S."

Local News people showing up on CSpan

Hannity and Martin

Tonight I watched Mike Flannery, our Political reporter on CBS2 Chicago on CSpan. First off it's nice to see your local people on national news. He took calls from
all over the country, both sides of the election, McCain/Obama supporters and many different views. Half happy with the outcome, the other half not happy with the election outcome.

Having Barak Obama being elected President we will be seeing more of our local people on national news. This is good and bad. It's good that we will see own well known and familiar people on national news and know who they are, it's bad that many may end up out of our hometown.

David Axelrods' son having an incident at a Bulls game was big news here, when it occurred. but now no one anywhere else thought this was news, because they had no clue whose son that was, but now they know Mike's Dad is David Axelrod It's like Benny the Bull, the Bulls mascot incident at taste of Chicago one year, the kind of news that will not go national...until now, now that people will be watching what is what in their President's hometown, now that people will be watching those close to their next President. They now know who David Axelrod is, among many others from our area.
That could be why we will be seeing more of our local political reporters on National news.

I just got done watching Mike Flannery (CBS2 local) on CSpan he was taking calls, one caller called in and was asking if Obama is really an American Citizen, born here, had Arabs put him through college, and Mike Flannery said to her "you must watch Fox news and you are referring to Hannity's show where he had Andy Martin on"

Mike Flannery went on to say that Obama's Birth Certificate from Honolulu, Hawaii was posted on his website. Mike Flannery then went on to say that Andy Martin is a perennial candidate in this state, he has tryed to run for Mayor, Governor, etc and is not allowed to practice law in this state due to his Psychosis'. Mike Flannery went on to say he is not a credible source for any information, but he could be like a stopped clock, right twice a day but all the other times wrong. So I wonder, will this Hannity, Fox news fan start to think? Fox news is the biggest source of GOP Koolaid, and Sean Hannity is always pouring.

Anyhow that was Hannity's big credible witness. But if your only source of news is Fox, I really feel sorry for you. And if you are a fan of Sean Hannity's, I feel even sorrier for you. If you think Fox news is "Fair and Balanced" just because they flash it with a moving transparency across the screen so often, or they say it, you need to watch another news source just to compare.

And I give Mike Flannery "the testicular virility" for the first thing out of his mouth to this woman caller is "you must watch Fox news, Hannity" You could tell by Mike Flannery's tone, and innuendos that he shares the same feelings so many good news people feel. Fox news is so one sided, and Sean Hannity is even worse. The new coined term Testicular virility is from our current Governor Rod.

I am sure so many other serious news people who try to get the whole story, be responsible reporters, work to stay neutral and give all sides of an issue must roll their eyes at Fox news, and more so at Hannity. I am sure many serious reporters keep wondering "Why?", "Why do so many people take this as their source for news?"

Mike Flannery made a good point, when you have just one party in control they get comfortable and bold and that's when corruption occurs. He pointed out this current Administration as an example. But he did point out you need both political parties to go up against each other for checks and balances. Mike Flannery also pointed out to the caller he is from a State that is all Democrat, in the State Capital, to the County to the City.

I have to wonder, what will happen to Fox news now that their party is not in power in the White House, the House or Senate?

Politicians saving us money

Why don't they all learn from Fast Eddie, Plead guilty save the taxpayers money on a trial

Vrdolyak's lawyer, Michael Monico, said that being under indictment for nearly 18 months had been difficult for Vrdolyak and his family.

"We avoid a lengthy and bitter trial as a result of this," Monico said.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to charge Vrdolyak in connection with the same alleged extortion attempt that led to last week's indictment of Springfield power broker William Cellini. During the trial of Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko earlier this year, political insider Stuart Levine testified that Vrdolyak was to have passed a $2 million bribe from Hollywood producer Thomas Rosenberg as part of an extortion plot over state investment business, but the scheme fell through when Rosenberg threatened to go to authorities. Why not? This was the fast deal

The case against 'Fast Eddie' Vrdolyak
Five things you need to know about the former alderman who goes on trial today
November 3, 2008

His wheeling-and-dealing as a powerhouse Chicago alderman won him the nickname "Fast Eddie." Today, former 10th Ward Ald. Edward Vrdolyak is set to go on trial on federal bribery and fraud charges that stem from one of his deals. The trial promises to be colorful and well-attended.

Vrdolyak's lively personality is legendary. And his two defense lawyers are among the best-known in Chicago: former prosecutor Michael Monico and longtime defense attorney Terry Gillespie. The prosecution team includes Christopher Niewoehner, who was the lead prosecutor in Tony Rezko's corruption trial.

Former 10th Ward Ald. Edward Vrdolyak is set to go on trial today on federal bribery and fraud charges that stem from one of his deals.

Here are five things you need to know about the case against Vrdolyak:

1. Gold Coast scheme
Vrdolyak faces bribery, wire fraud and mail fraud charges. The case prosecutors have brought against him involves what prosecutors describe as a single scheme: the $15 million sale of a Gold Coast property belonging to the former Chicago Medical School. Prosecutors say Vrdolyak agreed to split a $1.5 million kickback with Stuart Levine, a board member for the school who'd agreed to persuade the board to sell the building to Smithfield Properties. Smithfield, in turn, agreed to pay Vrdolyak a 10 percent fee, or $1.5 million, according to prosecutors.

2. A familiar face
The star witness against Vrdolyak will be a familiar face: Levine. The businessman, lawyer and longtime Republican Party fund-raiser testified for 15 headline-grabbing days and helped convict Rezko last June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals. But Levine -- who has known Vrdolyak for decades -- comes with a lot of baggage. He pleaded guilty to charges in the Rezko case and made a deal with prosecutors to cut his prison sentence. Expect Vrdolyak's defense team to point out the prosecution witness is an admitted drug user, thief and con man.

3. All about the tapes
A wire tripped up Vrdolyak -- and Levine was wearing it. So if jurors don't trust Levine's testimony, prosecutors will try to back it up with what was caught on secretly made recordings. The tapes could ultimately be what convicts -- or clears -- Vrdolyak.

4. This case and only this case
Prosecutors have said they won't bring up past allegations of wrongdoing against Vrdolyak. Among them: At Rezko's trial, Levine testified that, in the 1980s, he paid Vrdolyak bribes to win government contracts for clients and for one of his own companies.

5. No more 'Fast Eddie?'
Vrdolyak earned that moniker as an alderman. But some of those close to him say the nickname doesn't fit anymore. "He's 71 years old. How fast do you think he is?" said one person close to him.

Natasha Korecki

So many firsts and so much more to come

It is great having someone from your hometown make President. We were on local, National, and International news. We had the opportunity to watch everything on local or national news. It was interesting seeing our local news people with so many newscasters from all over in the background.

We had every local politician interviewed either at Grant Park or on local news. Jesse Jackson Jr. really got chatty, but he's next in line for....well there are so many rumors.

So many are rumored to being going to DC, even State Treasurer Alexi Giannouliasm also rumors he could be running for Governor. As exciting as it is to watch Obama win, we now will have a lot of movement of many politicians because of this.

Not that political news in this city, county and state have ever been boring, but political reporters will have the best job security ever.

Rahn Emmanuel, Arne Duncan and many other names being tossed around as moving to DC.
This will shake things up, open seats, a Senator vacancy, Jesse Jackson Jr. is rumored to be considered for. Then we have two Congressional seats, Jackson's and Emmanuels left to fill. Politics will not get boring in this State, ever.

There is a lot of excitement in this City, County, and State tonight. For the first time that anyone can remember we are the center of attention because we have someone from our own hometown getting national attention.

Will this be good for tourism? Will people who have never been to Chicago decide they want to visit Grant Park? Has Springfield Illinois where the Presidential announcement occured benefited from increased tourism?

First shock is that the Chicago Tribune endorsed a Democrat for President, this is a first. History is made right here. The Trib is the GOP paper and this was a surprise.

Obama plans election night to be in Grant Park, this will give us an idea of how well we could handle the Olympics.

If Obama wins, who will be anointed his Senate seat? Who will he take from this State to join him in DC?

Sure if Obama wins he is going to take a few out of city, state or countyMayor Daley is gung-ho about Barack Obama, but apparently there's a limit to the mayor's support. His name is Arne Duncan.

If Obama wants Duncan to end his seven-year run as Chicago Public Schools CEO and become either U.S. education secretary or a top deputy, he won't get a recommendation from Daley.

On a sad note about a horrific tragedy to a whole family, worse yet a young child was murdered. But as I deal with North siders at work they say things like, "well people on the South side are always killing each other" and "Why didn't Jennifer move her family to a better area"

Let me tell you, first off we aren't always killing each other on the South Side. Next this was a domestic situation, as unfortunate as it is. And finally the Englewood area that Jennifer's family live in, is NOT a bad neighborhood!

Ok whenever someone wants to move to Chicago from out of State, Downstate, or wherever they move from, they move to the North Side, Wrigleyville, Bucktown, River North, etc. If they have more money they move to Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast. Which is just fine with us South Siders because we don't want all the transplants, we like to keep it real, and we are a whole bunch of real people on the South Side and want to keep it that way.

But I am tired of all these comments that this tragedy happened because, well, they are living on the South Side and this supposedly is the norm. I have very calmly said that this is a fairly good neighborhood that this tragic event started in. Then I get "your neighborhood is worse?" or "IT IS?" I wonder how many of these Northsiders have been South of Chinatown? or the University of Chicago, Science Museum, well, Hyde Park? Actually it's not a bad thing, because the traffic and congestion on the South Side beats the North Side for ease of getting around any day!

Hudson's nephew, sad ending

Jennifer Hudson identifies body of nephew
October 28, 2008

Holding on to each other, overcome by emotion, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson and six relatives viewed a closed-circuit TV screen at the morgue Monday afternoon and identified a small boy as Hudson’s 7-year-old nephew Julian King.

The identification came from Hudson. “She said, ‘Yes, that is him,’ according to Sean Howard, a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office. “Jennifer Hudson was incredbly strong for her family, she was leader in that group and kept her composure.

The identity of a body found in the backseat of an SUV on the West Side this morning has been confirmed as Julian King, the 7-year-old nephew of actress Jennifer Hudson.
The body of Julian King, the nephew of actress Jennifer Hudson, was found slain inside this white Suburban in the 1300 block of South Kolin Ave. this morning

Mourners gather at Hudson home in tribute
Donerson gave her Dreamgirl all she needed to make it
Jennifer's tragedy hits us where we live
“She felt like the Lord and saviour Jesus Christ was going to get her through that,” Howard added. “Those were her words.”

Julian’s mother was not there, he said.

The boy had been missing since Hudson's mother and brother were found shot to death Friday in their Englewood home. Monday morning, a howling dog alerted neighbors in the 1300 block of South Kolin to a white Chevrolet Suburban, where police found Julian’s body on the floor of the back seat.

Here we have and I will quote, and I love this quote from Peraica " Then reason I want to be the Cook County State's attorney is I want to be the chief legal counsel for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger: Wouldn't that be great?"
Did the Toddster cringe when he heard this, is he loosing any sleep over this?

Then we have the other Nemesis of the Toddler becoming the most loved and respected Sheriff Cook County ever had. Really if the Toddler goes after Sheriff Dart, we will be more outraged than ever.

Whose side do you think the people are going to take on this?

Something to think about

Ok so I hear this is not a battleground state.

I hear that Obama is like Lincoln, he came from the State Capital, just like Lincoln, has just as much as experience as Lincoln. Ok, we are looking for the next Lincoln.

We aren't getting all the campaigning here. We don't have to worry about McCain and Palin tromping through our state, that's a relief for most.

We are hearing all kinds of things like who will be appointed/annointed into Obama's Senate position.

We hear Rezko wants to cooperate. He wants to be the next Stuart Levine to the Feds, but he also wants to cut down on his jail time.

We hear Dick Durbin on the radio a lot talking about how this is the first generation that will not think of a home as an investment.

We are seeing more and more empty stores around, sitting vacant.

We are facing yet another CTA increase. Our taxes are the highest in the country already. Chicago made the top 10 Forbes list of most stressful places to live. Forbes used things like crime, which by the way is up, unemployment, costs etc.

Then we want the Olympics, but will it bring in revenue? We are going to build this Olympic Village, then after the Olympics tear it dowm? Why?

It's no wonder Todd Stroger has so many handlers

Here we have a picture of Jesse Jackson Jr. looking horrified that Mayor Daley will be hugging him. In case anyone missed the hugfest, which was nothing more than a PR stunt that all of our fighting politicians partook in, I posted this picture. Speaking as someone from Illinois, and having an Illinois candidate for President, all of the Democratic convention meant more when you heard all your own politicians speak. Like some conventions, you don't know everyone, but this was all ours.

Hugfest Illinois PoliticiansDENVER -- With a jaw-dropping series of hugs, feuding Illinois Democrats sought to bury hatchets Wednesday in a surreal display of unity-gone-wild.

It culminated in a brief embrace between Gov. Blagojevich and his political nemesis, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The hug at the breakfast of the Illinois delegation to the Democratic National Convention was not followed by announcements of progress on legislative roadblocks on issues such as school funding or a capital plan. But Blagojevich said the hug beats the lack of communication that preceded it.

"Whenever you hug a guy, you oughtta be upbeat about it," the governor said.

Blagojevich and Madigan huddled for about 20 minutes at a party Mayor Daley hosted Tuesday, and again Wednesday as they stood on the convention floor nominating Barack Obama.

The group hug started when U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sought to make peace with fellow South Side congressman Bobby Rush, who is recovering from cancer treatment.

After seeing Todd Stroger's news conference on the flooding from all the rain in Cook County, you have to wonder if he is illiterate? He stumbled over reading off of something that was written for him. Doesn't Andre Garner know he has to work with Todd more? or Lance Tyson chief of staff needs to run over the words in what was written for him. Or was it the whiny, why bother me Donna Dunnings, cousin of Todd that wrote what he was to say? If you were fortunate enough to miss, our Cook County President, President of the second most Populous County in this country declare Cook County a disaster area, you can watch this video, and only the words were different Painful and embarrassing as it is we need to vote this incompetent out. I have heard 5th graders read off their own papers with much more complicated words much better.
Todd Stroger news conference

On Daley's flooding news conferences.

Did Daley think he looked and sounded intelligent cukuing about the Governor?

On not having a budget in this State...again. Shutting down many State Historic sites....Springfield is so full of so much to do if you are into history and they have so many good State Employees that are very knowledgable and love what they do. I have taken many of the tours, numerous times and learn something from these wonderful curators each and every time. Instead of taking your children to an amusement park you should take them to Springfield, but not until they can work out a budget and reopen many of these historic museums and sites

The Lipinski's did it, the Stroger's did it, the Beaver's did it, the Steeles' did it........why not Emil Jones? This is becoming common practice in this state, when you retire leave your office to your offspring. How do we get new blood in these Political positions?

There will be a new Emil Jones in the State SenateState Senate Pres. Emil Jones Says He'll Retire
CHICAGO (CBS) ― Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. says he won't seek re-election in November.

Jones' office released a statement Monday afternoon in which the 35-year legislative veteran thanked colleagues and constituents but didn't say why he was retiring.
Jones played a key role in helping Barack Obama get to the U.S. Senate. But Monday, Jones resigned as a candidate for re-election. He wants to hand his South Side seat to his son.

As his protégé, Obama's presidential campaign has been the emotional capstone to Jones's long career. After 36 years in public office, one-time city inspector Jones said he would step down next January as state senate president.
"I'm saddened by it because I had the great pleasure of serving for 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly and Emil Jones is one of the first people I got a chance to meet," said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. "He wrapped his arms around me, he showed me the ropes."

As CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, Jones's departure will be a blow to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The nearly 73-year old Jones is the closest powerful legislative ally of Gov. Blagojevich.
In a statement, the governor said, "The accomplishments I am most proud of would not have happened without Emil Jones."
Many hope the next senate president will end the long legislative stalemate that has paralyzed the state capitol.

"I'm sure Speaker Madigan has an interest in who the next senate president is going to be as well, which can only make for big fireworks coming out of Springfield," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).

Among dozens of his family members and friends on the state payroll is Jones's son, Emil Jones III, a $59,436-a-year senior account manager for the Blagojevich administration.
Jones wants his son to take his seat. He carefully timed Monday's resignation to make it virtually impossible for any other candidate to emerge. The deadline for Democratic leaders to pick a replacement is just a few days away.

Obama, in a statement, said, "Senator Jones has been a passionate advocate who has fought for working families and the underprivileged for more than three decades."
"His health is still fine; his brain is as sharp as ever, but it's time to go on and allow someone else to carry the mantle in the Democratic senate," said State Sen. icky Hendon (D-Chicago).
Hendon is one of at least seven state senators campaigning behind the scenes to replace Jones as president.
As for Jones, he has long joked he would like Obama, if elected president, to appoint him Ambassador of Ireland.
But in all seriousness, it is likely that he could get a federal appointment if Obama's presidential bid is successful.

I am volunteering Todd Stroger to do this, maybe then he will be less likely to make budget cuts here so freely. Well I can't wait for Sherir Curran's report.

Sheriff sentences himself to jail
August 20, 2008Recommend (5)

BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter
Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran Jr. sentenced himself today to a week in his own jail, saying he believes spending time behind bars will make him a better cop and a better person.
"I believe that I can be a better sheriff by having a better understanding of jail operations from the perspective of an inmate in the Lake County Jail," Curran said before being locked up. "I believe that I will receive significant introspection from staying in the jail with inmates for a week."

Curran plans to live in a cell, eat jail food, mingle and talk with other inmates in common areas, while also attending numerous programs offered in the facility, including substance abuse counseling, parenting and educational classes, along with religious services.
That immersion, he said, should give him more insight into everything from safety issues to what programs may be needed help inmates straighten out their lives and avoid future crimes.
"My experience in the jail will help me to better understand our existing programming, as well as any possible unmet needs that exist in our programming,'' said Curran, a 45-year-old former prosecutor elected sheriff in 2006.

But Curran, a Roman Catholic, also frequently cited a spiritual desire to understand what inmates are going through and how their lives may be turned around.
"In Lake County, we have embraced the scriptural mandate to love our neighbor. Your neighbor must be everyone if we are truly going to see peace on Earth," he said. "In the eyes of society, I may be sheriff, but in God’s eyes, I am no better than anyone else."
He said he wasn’t worried that his stay would be criticized by some as a publicity stunt.
"I don’t live my life for other people," Curran said. "I do what’s right and let the chips fall."

After making his announcement at a news conference, Curran went through the standard booking procedures, including being fingerprinted and photographed. He then exchanged his gray suit, blue shirt and red-striped tie for jail-issued, dark-blue shirt and pants, along with purple sandals.
"It feels different," he said after changing clothing, but added: "The outfit is comfortable enough."

He acknowledged, though, that he won't be living exactly as inmates do — for one thing, he’ll have his own 8-foot by 6-foot cell. His staffers insisted on that provision for security reasons, Curran said, though he described the jail — which houses a maximum of 740 inmates — as "extremely safe."
He will spend nights in several different units, including the maximum security segregation unit.
Curran, a Democrat, also plans to continue his official duties, including running the jail, though that will involve shifting some meetings from off-site locations to the jail or adjoining sheriff's offices.
He vowed, though, not to leave the jail and sheriff's office complex

Here I agree with Daley, the Universities and Colleges want the drinking age lowered. Many are right, this will have the students drinking in bars instead of campus. I went off to college, I waited until I was 21, which was always the legal drinking age for as long as I can remember. Many argue if 18 year olds can drink they know a lot of 17, 16 or younger kids that will have access due to their friends. We all know most 19 and 20 year olds know 21 year olds. Then there are many high end bars that have a minimum age of 23 to enter. These places are keeping the amateur drinkers out. Now does this mean lowering the age we will have younger amateur drinkers?

Daley and lowering the drinking age to 21
CHICAGO -- Nearly 50 years removed from his own carefree college days, Mayor Daley on Wednesday lambasted university presidents for campaigning to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.

For the tuition they charge and the six-figure salaries they receive, Daley said university presidents have a "legal and moral responsibility"to establish a safe environment for students.

Lowering the drinking age hardly qualifies, the mayor said. He called it "the easy way out"and a lowering of standards that need to be raised.

"Will that be the motto: 'Come to my university. Drink as much as you can as long as you pay your tuition'? Do you think you send your son or daughter to come home as an alcoholic? That's a bad message, I'm sorry. You have enough time to drink the rest of your life," Daley said.

"You think the president of the university is gonna open a beer hall in his house?" Daley continued. "Do you think the coach of the baseball team or football team will open it up? They should raise their standards and think that drinking is not part of college life. Everybody has responsibility on this and drinking at universities isn't something you should be proud of. You don't send your son or daughter to learn how to drink at universities. You send them for an education."

Lake Forest College President Stephen Schutt, who signed on to the so-called Amethyst Initiative, said university presidents are "about the business of educating students" and they would like to be able to educate them on responsible use of alcohol.

But, there is "no lawful way" to do that so long as the legal drinking age remains 21 and a majority of students are under that age, he said.

"Students at colleges and universities across the country -- and, unfortunately at many high schools -- are already drinking, despite the fact that the lawful age is 21. They drink in private. They drink in hiding. They sometimes go off campus to places to drink that are dangerous. They may drive while doing that," Schutt said.

"There is a real argument that needs to be considered about whether it would be safer for them to drink lawfully

Bears, Trout and cameras

Have fans turn other Bear fans in

I also heard they are going to have a hot line during the games so fans can turn other fans in, for just about anything. The Bears tailgating has been going on for years, if not decades, now they want to tame the Bears fans. This is ridiculous, how many incidents and how minor are we talking about?

Some Bears fans say tailgating rule is a turnover

August 8, 2008

By ANDREW SELIGMAN, the associated press
As far as some fans are concerned, the Chicago Bears just committed one big fumble. New tailgating rules are in place, and they don't understand why.

Under a new policy that started with Thursday's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, tailgaters without a ticket can no longer stay in the Soldier Field parking lots during games.
Why? The team said in an e-mail to season-ticket holders this week that it was trying to crack down on poor behavior, but some fans said it's trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Longtime season-ticket holder Jeff Benson, of Kansas City, Kansas, called the policy "stupid" and "crazy" as he basted ribs. His friend, Tom Tumbarello, Elmhurst, added: "I agree with him totally."
For years, many fans have watched games on television in the parking lots, where they would set up impressive food and drink spreads. Some who showed up without tickets would try to buy from scalpers.

Now they'll have to leave once the game starts, a policy that makes little sense to Michael Isaacs, of Highland Park.
"If they can sit in the stadium and get hammered, why can't they sit out here and relax and watch the ballgame?" he said.

Isaacs said he didn't realize unruly behavior in the parking lots "was a big issue before" and added: "Everybody's neighborly. By the time we come back after the game, there are just people relaxing."

Hopefully she didn't buy this get up just for the occasion
Yes, still a drama queen till the end. How much did she get away with all her years as Alderman? She got off pretty easy. What was all the white powder they found all over? Does she still have gangbanger boyfriends? A former Chicago Police SGT is now Alderman, after an easy win, running on getting gangbangers out of Ward 20, well he got rid of number one gangbanger Troutman by winning Alderman.

After she was charged with corruption in early 2007, Ald. Arenda Troutman (20th) defiantly denied wrongdoing and suggested she had been targeted for political reasons.

"Folk in my community understand there can be false allegations when there is someone who is the voice of the people," Troutman told the Tribune at the time.
But on Wednesday, a subdued Troutman admitted that prosecutors had been right after all and that for several years she had solicited cash from developers to back projects in her ward.

Troutman, dressed in a colorful summer dress despite the rather somber occasion, nodded and quietly answered "yes" when a federal judge asked her if she had accepted illegal payments.
She likely faces about 4 to 5 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to one felony count each of mail fraud and tax fraud. U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo scheduled sentencing for Dec. 3.
Troutman becomes the 12th Chicago alderman to be convicted of wrongdoing in the last 20 years, but the first since Percy Giles (37th) in 1999.

Prosecutors detailed the evidence against Troutman, including conversations that an undercover informant recorded as part of the FBI sting that snared her. In one exchange, the alderman promised to smooth the way for a development but then asked, "What do I get out of it?"
In another infamous quote that was caught on tape and later drew scorn from council colleagues, Troutman compared politics in Chicago to prostitution.
"Most aldermen, most politicians are hos," she said.

In the 33-page plea agreement, Troutman admitted it was "the general practice" of her office to direct staffers to solicit donations from developers seeking to do business in the 20th Ward. Prosecutors laid out payoffs totaling $21,500 in the document.
Whether it was to change zoning, allow alley access or approve the sale of city-owned property, Troutman made it clear her support "would either not be forthcoming or would be delayed" if she weren't paid, the plea agreement said.

Troutman long enjoyed the support of some of Mayor Richard Daley's most prominent black allies, including Bishop Arthur Brazier and Rev. Leon Finney Jr. But after the corruption charges came as she campaigned for a fifth term, Brazier and Finney threw their backing to challenger Willie Cochran in the February 2007 election.

Cochran won a landslide victory, but Troutman, comparing herself to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., declined to concede the race in election-night comments to her supporters.
"She had a certain level of constituents who trusted her, and this I'm sure leaves them with a heavy heart, to know that after all the proclamations of innocence she is pleading guilty," Cochran said Wednesday. "I'm glad this is coming to a close."

The 20th Ward includes some of the city's poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods, but it's also at the edge of a spreading wave of new homes along the South Side lakefront.
Some community leaders said Troutman held up important redevelopment projects, but she responded that critics were promoting "the scourge of gentrification."

As part of the investigation, the FBI sent a mole named Andre Johnson to see Troutman. An elder in a Baptist church, Johnson told Troutman that a wealthy investor was looking to build a mixed-use building on South Halsted Street.

For her backing, Johnson gave a $5,000 check to a women's auxiliary linked to Troutman to pay for tickets to a campaign fundraiser.
The 20th Ward Women's Auxiliary was supposed to be a nonprofit organization, but Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Alesia said tens of thousands of dollars in cash were withdrawn from the organization without any public accounting.

Troutman left court Wednesday without comment, but her attorney, Sam Adam Jr., said that she would not cooperate with the government and simply wanted to put the case behind her.
"For the benefit of her family and for the benefit of her personally, we felt this was the best thing to do at this time," Adam said.

Charges in the case are still pending against Steven Boone, a former Troutman aide, and Vince Gilbert, her onetime political adviser.
Both have pleaded not guilty to participating in the payoff scheme. In some of the illegal arrangements, prosecutors said, Gilbert forced his way into development projects as a partner so he could give Troutman kickbacks from his share of the business.

Blagojevich and cameras
So these cameras all over the Illinois Highway system are going to generate all kinds of money to help the state out, what to pay for all the overtime down in Springfield because they can't pass a budget in time?
Will they only go after real speeders, not people going 7 - 10 over?

Despite mixed results so far with camera-enforcement technology, Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants cameras on the state's highways to issue tens of thousands of speeding tickets that would pay for more state troopers.

If approved by state lawmakers, the Illinois State Police will set up 108 cameras to catch speeders going both directions on potentially every major highway.
Such technology is currently in sparse use in other states and countries.

Illinois has already proved to have difficulty with cameras used to catch toll cheats and speeders in work zones.
Most recently, it took the tollway more than a year to send out toll violation tickets, leading many drivers to unwittingly rack up thousands of dollars in fines, a Daily Herald investigation revealed this year.

The report also raised questions about the system's appeal process and mailing procedures, which have yet to be addressed. Measures introduced in the Statehouse to provide tighter guidelines have failed to gain approval.

Work zone cameras, installed in roaming vans centered on construction zones, took about two years to get operational after the law was signed in 2004.
However, officials say they have proved successful since then, issuing scores of $375 tickets an hour.
The latest proposal would mark the most expansive use of camera enforcement in the state.

The governor's office estimates the $4 million system would raise $40 million to hire 500 more troopers. The new officers could be used to create 10 teams that would target high-crime areas throughout the state, the governor's office says.
Fines would be set at $75.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero says the plan is "still in its infancy," but he added the cameras will not go after small-time speeders.
"It would allow us to go after drivers that are way over the speed limit," he said. "It is not like some guy going 7 or 10 miles over."

Currently, cities and counties across the Chicago area are raking in tens of millions of dollars by installing cameras that send out $100 fines for blowing red lights or, in some towns, send out tickets when cars violate railroad crossing gates.

First off congratulations to the Capital Fax for being named one of the best blogs, well because it is! (By Chicago Magazine)
Thanks to Rich Miller blog owner and political writer, and a hard working one at that! A big thanks, and a picture of US Cellular because Rich is also a fellow Sox Fan!

The Chicago Tribune printed phone numbers of all the Cook County Commissioners that vote for Todd Stroger's sales tax increase. Then Chicago Tribune is also printing each and every day the days until all of the Commissioners, including Mr. President Toddler up up for re-election, thanks Tribune.

Now there is another number today, one for the Southtown Star, email if you prefer, let them know what you think about Todd Stroger and how well he is doing.
The Southtown Star has done the best job covering Cook County and Cook County events, even though their publication is mostly bought in Commissioner John Daley's district.

"I'm doing what's best for the people. That's how I'm running the government. And until this place falls apart, then I'll step up and say, you know what, I screwed up," Stroger said. "But until then, I'll tell you I'm doing a damn good job."

Effort to repeal Cook County sales tax fails Stroger defends his governing abilities

July 23, 2008Recommend (1)

BY MARK KONKOL, sun-times news group
Self-described Cook County Board reformers took one last shot at repealing the county's sales tax increase that went into effect this month, but they didn't have the votes to make it happen.

The county board on Tuesday easily killed the sales tax rollback plan offered by Commissioner Tony Peraica.

• 'I'm doing a damn good job'
The proposal sparked a lengthy debate peppered with finger-pointing, name-calling and tricky parliamentary maneuvers that ended in an anti-climactic 10-to-7 vote.

Peraica took most of the heat. Commissioner Earlean Collins said Peraica's move was "all talk." Other board members criticized Peraica for being "irresponsible" by trying to repeal the tax in the middle of the year.

"To vote in favor of the repeal of the sales tax today would be to send our government to bankruptcy court possibly or to stop essential services," Commissioner Roberto Maldonado said.

When the rather long-winded arguments were over, Board President Todd Stroger said he is irritated by the constant criticism of his administration.

"I'm doing what's best for the people. That's how I'm running the government. And until this place falls apart, then I'll step up and say, you know what, I screwed up," Stroger said. "But until then, I'll tell you I'm doing a damn good job."

The tax has been controversial throughout the county. Businesses say they are losing sales to bordering counties. City officials in Palatine have even begun agitating for secession from Cook County.

On July 1, the county's portion of the sales tax increased 1 percentage point - a penny on the dollar - to 1.75 percent, giving Chicago the highest sales tax in the country at 10.25 percent.

When Peraica realized he didn't have support to overturn the tax hike, he tried to delay a vote. But commissioners who supported the sales tax increase pressed the issue.

Some commissioners said Peraica - the Republican candidate for Cook County State's Attorney - brought the sales tax issue back as a stunt to get publicity for his campaign.

Peraica said that's not true.

"I want to make sure I get the nine votes and repeal this tax and put the onus on the president of the county board to veto it. And then try to get the votes to override the veto," he said. "Is it simple or easy? No. Is it worth trying? Yes. And I'd do it again."

What do you think? Is Todd Stroger doing "a damn fine job"? Comment on this story at or call Speak Out at 708 633-6785. You can also e-mail at

Important Cook County phone numbers

Most of the votes were predictable. Some were not, I expected Earlean Collins to not cave in, but instead she voted along party lines. Democrats Commissioner Maldonado, Commissioner Claypool or Commissioner Quigley decided that issues were more of a priority. Then the last Democrat just needed some leaning on by the Unions, yes, Commissioner Suffredin, and his deciding vote help Stroger win.

Please don't beat up on Tom Dart, Mr. Fitzgerald

Before you come down on Tom Dart, Mr. Fitzgerald get a reality check on the Cook County situation, out Sheriff has been dealing with.

Tom Dart, Cook County Sheriff, has had to deal with budget cuts each and every year. Thanks to Todd Stroger, President of Cook County. Tom Dart is forced to deal with a smaller budget and staff. This in combination with the Cook County (CC) Prosecutor cuts. Due to less prosecutors, as well as public defenders, as CC State's attorney Dick Devine well knows, it is taking longer for cases to come to trial, thus longer stays at CC Jail. Tom Dart has eliminated putting many in jail overnight to alleviate the problem by letting them post bond at other CC facilities, to keep them out of the already busting at the seams CC Jail. This is due mostly to prosecutor and defense attorney cuts, as well as cuts in the CC correctional facilities.

I think Tom Dart is doing an exceptional job considering all he has had fall in his lap, thanks again to Todd Stroger, and Daddy Stroger before him.

Tom Dart has also had to put up with public attacks from CC President Stroger, and has fought the good fight with him all the time. Now that Dick Devine, the other Stroger nemesis, will not be running for CC State's Attorney again, that leaves Tom Dart to battle the Todd by himself.

This is totally unfair to Tom Dart, Mr. Fitzgerald, aren't there enough people in this state to go after? When are the rest of Public official A through whatever you are up to now going to trial? Remember, Cellini, Kelly, and all the rest? Isn't Stuart Levine still cooperating, you know snitching? Or is he not believable since he admitted a drug problem in the Rezko trial? Leave Tom Dart alone, he is doing a fantastic wonderful job considering all he has to deal with. Could anyone do better? Mr. Fitzgerald, before you go after Tom Dart, could you do as good of a job as he has? If you think so, run for CC Sheriff next election.

First off we should not have Todd as CC President. When John Stroger, then CC President, Daddy of Todd, fell ill, yes a Public employee in charge of the second most populous County in this Country, they told one lie after another about his condition. This was wrong, and during an election for CC President. Doctor's treating John Stroger would enter in and out of the Hospital alleys to avoid the press, until the press got smart to that. Then these Physicians had the deer in headlights look when they were caught by reporters as they left the service elevators in the alley. The Stroger camp continuously lied to the public about John Stroger's condition until after all deadlines had passed to enter the race as a candidate for CC President, then John Stroger could barely made some type of illegible scribble on his resignation. OK, did someone hold a pen in John Stroger's hand and move the paper? Did John Stroger have any idea what so possibly ever what he was signing? Then they put the Toddler in for the candidate for CC President. Then Bill Beavers left his City of Chicago Alderman post, to be anointed the CC Commissioner post that Daddy Stroger left. Of course Bill Beavers had to anoints his Daughter Darcel to his Aldermatic post. Then there was Bobbie Steele who became interim CC President, only to wait until after the elections to anoints her son Robert to her CC Commissioner post........OK. But summing it all up, all of this highly questionable and barely legal activities ran amok, and Mr. Fitzgerald did nothing........but now he is like a mad dog going after Tom Dart. Tom Dart, yes, Tom Dart, he is after Tom Dart, so many can not believe, Tom Dart. sigh

Then after Todd Stroger became CC President, reporters asked him what his Dad thought.....Todd gave the Todd smirk and shrug and could not answer.
I still can't believe, he is attacking Tom Dart? With all the people in Government, City, County positions in this City, County and State to go after.......Tom Dart? sigh The US Attorney's office has a whole alphabet of suspects in many, many pages to go after, and they go after Tom Dart? sigh

Tom Dart, you have more people on your side, and who support you more than you could ever possibly imagine, and feel badly, and really saddened by this attack by the US Attorney.

Tom Dart is getting blamed for poor medical and dental care at the Jail. This was all part of the Bureau of Health cuts that Tom Dart fought tooth and nail. The report was given by the US Attorney's office was so unfair in so many ways, and did not take into consideration that Tom Dart accomplished so much during his tenure as Sheriff, and that he is not a miracle worker. Given the many multitudes of obstacles and obstinate CC President, Tom Dart appeared to be a miracle worker, that is until the US Attorney's office attacked him so unnecessarily and relentlessly.sigh With so many letters of the alphabet to go through, the US Attorney had to go after Tom Dart. sigh

Wouldn't it make more sense to go full steam ahead on Todd Stroger instead? Tom Dart has inherited a multitude of problems left over from the last Stroger rein, and he has an done an exemplary job, and not only that but with all the additional problems brought on with this current Stroger regime.

Many fear that if Alvarez wins the CC State's Attorney next election she won't be strong enough to go up against Stroger, here's were there we know that Tony Peraica should he win against her will live to call Stroger out on everything. Tony Peraica winning the CC State's Attorney will be the biggest nightmare for Todd Stroger, Lance Tyson, and all the cohorts.

Yes, there is problems at CC Jail, lot's of them, but Tom Dart is doing the very best he can, given all he has inherited, all the budgetary restrictions, all the opposition from Stroger & cohorts, and now he is being attacked by the US Attorney's office.sigh

Federal investigation rips Cook County Jail

July 17, 2008

BY Mike Robinson The Associated Press
A 17-month federal investigation has found numerous abuses at the nation's largest single-site county jail, including a failure to protect prisoners from being harmed by other inmates and staff, officials said today.

Cook County Jail inmates were not only unprotected from excessive force by staff and violence from fellow prisoners but the jail failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care, fire prevention and sanitation, the investigation found.

"The Cook County Jail has an obligation to provide conditions of confinement that do not offend the Constitution and take reasonable measures to protect inmates from harm," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said. "The investigation clearly found that the jail failed that test."

Fitzgerald planned a news conference to discuss findings outlined in a 98-page Justice Department letter detailing the alleged abuses. It was given to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Sheriff Tom Dart a week ago, federal officials said.

Telephone messages seeking comment were left Thursday for Stroger and Dart.

While it found many faults with the jail, the letter commended jail staff for cooperating during the civil investigation.

The Cook County Jail sits on 96 acres on Chicago's West Side and has a daily population of about 9,800 male and female inmates, most awaiting trial in the state's criminal court system, making it the nation's largest single-site county jail, federal officials said.

Federal officials said inmate violence in 2006 resulted in the death of two prisoners. They said that in one week in March 2007, the jail documented 35 inmate fights and the use of force to stop them was required in 27 instances. Guards confiscated 46 weapons from inmates.

The report said inmates are regularly subjected to inappropriate and excessive use of physical force. The investigation found such force has sometimes been used after the inmates already were restrained.

Taste of Chicago 2008 Review

Noticeably gone this year was the water log ride. I guess it was replaced with the Illinois Lottery Taste Stage? But that mad the ride for the United Ferris Wheel longer since that was the only teenage and adult ride.

There was definitely a lot of Olympic promotion going on, there was a nice fenced off area so you can view the balloon and flags with the Olympic insignias.

There was also a Jumbo Screen TV by Buckingham fountain. Not a lot of interest, especially since people go to events to get away from TV. Also it was playing reruns of late night TV shows.

The family village was moved to the front rather than the end, at least everyone with kids did not have to go far to find something of interest for the children.

It seems like tickets did not go very far. It seems like everything cost more tickets.

One of the new food vendors Hash browns did a lot with sweet potatoes from hash browns to cheesecake. One of my son's had both and said they were great. The Adobo Grill was also new and the chips and guacamole were good. I was glad I did not want to wait in the long line of one of the new food vendors last year that had contamination issues, and I did not see them this year.

The good old vendors, BJ's mustard fried catfish is always good. Mazzone's Italian ice is always good. Sabor Latino I am sure this one only it's second year I stayed away from it's steak and onion sandwich because the meat was way too chewy last year.

Polo Cafe from Bridgeport has a don't miss crab cake nuggets, one son had two full orders of these.
The Oak Street Beach Cafe's grilled shrimp is something my other son never wants to miss, he had to hit this booth again this year.
Franco's Ristorante has a watermelon Italian ice that everyone should try, we have to get that every year.

Tutto Italiano had Italian fries one son thought they needed ketchup, we went there for the Coconut lime sorbet, but that was changed to the chocolate chip gellatto, one son and I are lactose intolerant, but the son who was not said it was good ice cream. The only Greek Town Restaurant there was Costa's, there Greek chicken on a pita was good as usual.

Even though a lot of people were getting the plates full of homemade potato chips from Harry Carey's, we had to pass on that.

There was the usual tour boats selling tours at Buckingham fountain. I don't know when they are going to build a bridge over LSD (Lake Shore Drive, or an underpass like they have up north by North Avenue, so people could cross at Queen's Landing again. It was nice when you could cross there instead of going all the way to Balbo.

Not enough time to go to Sox games

There is never enough time to take in all the Sox games.

Ok, I have been working way too much.....way too much.

Then I have been trying to go to as many Sox games, err pay Pilgrimage to my favorite South Side Guys.

By the way they are really great this year, but aren't they every year.

Ozzie is, well just perfect for the South siders, we just love him and how he handles the press.

By the way there are so many good looking guys on one team. I hope the rumors about trading Joe Crede are just that.

He says it's not about the money....don't believe it

All the rumors saying it's about taking a cut to make only $800,000 a year. Where is this blowhard going to get that kind of money? How was he making more than that for so long? Overpaid.......YES. Arrogant blowhard, YES. Will he be missed........NO. Is there better talk show hosts for the Sox radio....absolutley. Will they take less than $800K, yes. Good for the Score getting rid of him and saving money.

North says he's done at The Score

Radio personality Mike North announced Tuesday through his Web site that he will not return to WSCR-AM (670).

"I am now done at the Score," North wrote on "I met with management this past Friday and since I wouldn't accept the deal they offered; they told me I wasn't allowed to be on the air anymore."

He then launched into a lengthy good-bye that ended with, "You'll be hearing from us real soon. Keep your eyes and ears open and stay tuned."

North's contract, reportedly worth $1.5 million annually, expires July 1. WSCR management was believed to have offered North a deal worth less money and, reportedly, with an altered role at the station.

Cook County Jail inmate collapses, dies at hospital

May 22, 2008

A 51-year-old Cook County Jail inmate arrested on retail theft charges died Wednesday after collapsing at a hospital.

Cook County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Penny Mateck said an inmate who was being released from Stroger Hospital collapsed and died Wednesday.

Stanislaw Wolak, an inmate at the jail, died while in police custody, the Cook County medical examiner's office said. He was pronounced dead at Stroger at 8:03 p.m.

The inmate was brought into the jail Monday after being arrested on retail theft charges. He was being held on $2,000 bond, Mateck said.

After being booked into the jail Monday, he was taken to Stroger Hospital for an unknown reason. He was released from the hospital Wednesday and, under the supervision of two corrections officers, was set to return to the jail at 2700 S. California Ave.

However, he collapsed in the hallway of the hospital as he was leaving, according to Mateck.

Cronyism is the star of Stroger's hiring show

May 20, 2008
The front page news Monday was Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's hiring of two men with criminal records.

We have no quarrel with Stroger on that.

Both men paid their dues more than a decade ago, and neither was convicted of a hanging offense -- one admitted to involvement in a club fight, the other to making threatening phone calls.

America is about second chances, and Cook County government should be no different.

More practically, if you impose a ban on hiring people who made dumb mistakes when they were young, you eliminate a lot of good possible hires.

But this is not a story about redemption, a tale to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

This is a story about clout.

Both men -- James D'Amico and Myron Colvin -- are the brothers of state lawmakers. One of them, state Rep. Marlow Colvin, is also Stroger's best friend.

Yes, taxpayers, what we have is yet another episode in the "Todd Stroger Friends and Family Show."

Regular readers of this page may be growing tired of the show, as are we, but just try to move on. The "Todd Stroger Friends and Family Show" is like one of those cable TV shows that always pops up. No matter what channel you turn to, there it is. Sort of like "Law and Order," except the good guys don't always win.

When Chicago Sun-Times reporter Steve Patterson asked for the resumes of the two men last week, the Stroger administration wouldn't cough them up. That was just the latest instance of the administration's refusing to provide resumes.

In effect, the Stroger administration is telling taxpayers: Really, these are good, qualified hires. Just trust us.

If only we could.

Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins gave the usual response that his boss could hire whomever he wanted to fill the two vacancies, because the jobs don't fall under a court decree banning patronage hiring.

True enough, but doing what's technically legal is not the same as doing what's right.

Stroger supporters can point to as many other politicians as they like who hire friends and family and question why the Stroger administration takes so many knocks.

Stroger, though, gets the attention because he has seemingly perfected cronyism in such a short time in office.

We would love nothing more than to never write about this again.

But this looks like one show destined to go on forever.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he's worked out his differences with the county's public defender. Stroger had tried to fire Ed Burnette from his post.

Cook County commissioners were scheduled to hold a hearing yesterday to decide if Burnette was fit to keep his job. But Stroger says the two met on Monday morning...

STROGER: And what do you know, we agree on a lot of things.

Neither Burnette nor Stroger would give details about that meeting. Some county commissioners have said Stroger wanted to fire Burnette because Burnette filed a lawsuit after his budget was cut. Stroger says retaliation wasn't the issue.

STROGER: I've never tried to run his office and don't plan to. I just abide by the law and as the law states, to hire certain people, he has to talk to me. And what has happened is he hadn't talked to me. So I didn't know who he wanted to hire.

Burnette says even though he and Stroger are on better terms, he hasn't withdrawn his lawsuit. The public defender's office provides legal services to those who can't afford representation.

Cook County judge accused of Tinley DUI loses bench seat, for now"

A Cook County judge accused of driving drunk in Tinley Park almost two weeks ago has been stripped of her duties on the bench.

Sheila McGinnis, arrested after she slammed into a minivan carrying two young children on May 9, has been assigned to restricted duties in the office of First Municipal District Presiding Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr.

McGinnis, 47, of Chicago's Beverly community, only will perform administrative duties at Wright's office in the Richard J. Daley Center, Chief Circuit Judge Tim Evans said. Her new assignment began Tuesday. She previously oversaw criminal cases, including some involving drunken driving, at the Bridgeview courthouse.

"In order to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary while taking into consideration the nature and severity of any charges against or implications of improper conduct by a judge, Supreme Court Rule 56 provides that a chief judge may temporarily assign a judge to restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties," Evans said in a statement released Tuesday.

McGinnis, a former Cook County prosecutor who is related to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, is accused of driving drunk about 7:30 p.m. May 9 in the southbound lanes of Harlem Avenue at 182nd Street in Tinley Park. McGinnis was weaving from lane to lane, flashing her brights, sounding the horn of her 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer and striking the curb south of 171st Street before she rear-ended a 2005 Chevrolet Uplander waiting at a red light, according to a Tinley Park police report.

A Joliet woman who was driving the Uplander, which also was carrying another adult, a teenager and two young children, got out of her vehicle to tell McGinnis to stop because the judge was still trying to drive forward with her head on the steering wheel, police said. When police arrived, McGinnis told an officer she was driving home from work at the Bridgeview courthouse, police said. She refused sobriety tests and would not answer any questions, police said.

Drivers arrested for drunken driving who refuse to submit to chemical tests lose their driver's licenses for six months.

McGinnis was charged with drunken driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and no proof of valid insurance. No one was injured in the crash.

McGinnis was elected in 2002. A woman in her Bridgeview courthouse office referred calls to Evans' office. Last week, McGinnis said her attorney told her not to comment, though she has yet to identify her attorney.

To avoid a conflict of interest, a judge from outside of Cook County will preside over McGinnis' case, Evans said. McGinnis is due in court June 6.

Last week, Evans reassigned McGinnis to civil cases. The Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, which investigates allegations of misconduct by judges, also can file charges against McGinnis, Evans said. A judicial commission would then decide what, if any, disciplinary action would be imposed, such as removing McGinnis from the bench.

The Tinley Park police report detailing McGinnis' crash and charges was not part of a batch usually available to the public. Tinley Park police provided the report after a SouthtownStar Freedom of Information Act request, but several personal items normally part of police reports, such as her driver's license number and home address, were blacked out. Police also issued a press release about the accident, though Cmdr. Rick Bruno said they weren't treating McGinnis any differently than another person accused of a crime.

Things aren't going smoothly in Toddlerland

If Joe Birkett were Lt. Governor, and Judy Baar Topinka were Governor this would be front page news, instead of a small article a few pages into the paper.

Under the cloak of darkness, Berwyn's most famous pop icon was dismantled late Friday, skewering any hopes of saving the "Spindle."

Activists had been fighting to preserve the towering stack of eight cars, impaled on a silver spike, in Cermak Plaza, near Cermak Road and Harlem Avenue, where a Walgreens is to be built.

A last-ditch effort had placed the structure for sale on eBay two weeks ago for $50,000. But the rusty tower, featured in the 1992 movie "Wayne's World," garnered no bids.

"I regret that we didn't have some kind of warning," said Berwyn Ald. Michele Skryd (4th), who acknowledged the structure was on private property. "It just seems really a shame it was handled in this manner."

The "Spindle" has been a contentious issue within Berwyn, with some people passionately defending it and others despising it.

Skryd likened the dismantling to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's unannounced, infamous midnight raid in 2003 to demolish Meigs Field, the small lakefront airport.

Bill Beavers, is now a member of the Fashion Police.

Bill Beavers now turned fashion Critic
There's a laundry list of problems at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, but a county commissioner on Wednesday found another one - the attire of the center's director.

Commissioner William Beavers (D-Chicago) publicly criticized Earl Dunlap, asking him if he owned a suit and lectured him that "your appearance commands respect" and that he's "supposed to be a role model."

Dunlap, wearing a white polo shirt tucked into Dockers pants, responded that "I command respect by the way I conduct myself" and told Beavers "the last person I need to be judged by is you."

"I've got bigger fish to fry ... than whether I've got my Armani suit on," Dunlap told reporters later.

Dunlap is a no-nonsense, nationally recognized juvenile center leader brought in by a federal judge to clean up the Cook County center that long has been plagued by patronage hiring and allegations of abuse of youths and filthy conditions.

Beavers, county board President Todd Stroger's floor leader, is a longtime politician and a product of the Democratic machine known for his flashy suits and unapologetic defense of patronage. Some of Stroger's advisers seemed to cringe Wednesday at Beavers' criticism of Dunlap.

The spat at the county board meeting came as commissioners questioned the amount of overtime being spent at the juvenile center. Dunlap said OT is necessary because almost half of the center's 500 jobs are vacant or occupied by workers who repeatedly call in sick or are on some sort of medical leave.

A federal judge is set to rule today on Dunlap's request to temporarily bring in private security guards to work overnight shifts until hundreds of jobs can be filled. That less-demanding shift is desired by senior security staff, but Dunlap wants to move more experienced workers to open jobs on the day shift.

Dunlap said filling jobs has become more difficult because applicants must meet tougher standards since the center was taken over by Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

It appears Todd is the biggest offender of patronage

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has forced unqualified people into jobs on the public defender's payroll.

Those charges were made Wednesday by Public Defender Ed Burnette, who is fighting to keep a job he was appointed to five years ago by Stroger's father, John Stroger.

One supervisor hired by Stroger was so unqualified, Burnette said, "I had to find something for him to do" because he couldn't do public defender work. Attorney Richard Velazquez was hired to defend the poor but never saw a courtroom, instead becoming Stroger's attorney.

Burnette said while his office defends the poor, Stroger believes certain jobs there "belong to him and he can fill them as he sees fit." He adds that people were "sent to our office" for jobs based on their political connections, not legal background.

Burnette said John Stroger largely kept politics out of his office, but that has changed under Todd Stroger.

Todd Stroger defends his right to fill some positions based on political patronage. His spokesman Gene Mullins said Burnette "never once reached out to President Stroger and told him he had people not doing their job. That's part of his failure to effectively manage his office."

A hearing is set for next week on what Todd Stroger claims is "just cause" for firing Burnette. While a majority of the county board initially supported the move, that number is dwindling.

Stroger's office also recently launched an investigation into Burnette's hiring of one-time political candidate Jonathan Bedi -- who applied for a public defender job years ago, but only got a call while challenging state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) in the February primary.

Bedi's hiring was first questioned in a Chicago Sun-Times story in March, as was Stroger's hiring of high-paid administrator Ron Burleson, who once worked at Stroger's health club. Stroger's office has failed to answer a standing request for Burleson's resume.

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