Saturday, February 27, 2010

Natalie Merchant on Chicago's Filthy Weather

They say that some Eskimo tribes have as many as two dozen different words to describe snow. Well, I think Chicagoans need every bit as vast a lexicon to describe grey skies. Today, February 27th with temperatures struggling to crack the freezing point the sky is grey from one end of the horizon to the other. Today it's a kind of crayola crayon silver grey punctuated by little billows of bituminous grey.

And to think we only have four months or so left of this depression-inducing, filthy Chicago weather. They don't call it the land of the endless winter for nothing.

Natalie Merchant grew up in upstate New York, but she might as well have been writing about Chicago in her 1988 hit with 10,000 maniacs, "Like the Weather."

It is, to my knowlege, the only hit song ever written about clinical depression. She was such a cheery little leftist vegetarian.

So here it is from a live performance: the perfect paean to Chicago's filthy weather.

Please note that by the time of this performance, Miss Merchant had begun to clean up her aging Catholic schoolgirl appearance and was said to have been washing her hair at least once a month -- whether she needed it or not.

The dance steps in this video were choreographed by the Elaine Benes School of Dance, of which Miss Merchant seems to have been a graduate, summa cum laude.

"The color of the sky
as far as I can see
Is coal grey..."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Preckwinkle is Obama Clone: Russ Stewart Analysis

By Russ Stewart

(Russ Stewart, a Chicago Attorney and political analyst for the NW Side Nadig Community newspapers, is a frequent guest on WLS radio's "Political Shootout.")

Platitudes do not necessarily presage performance. In 2008, Barack Obama ran as a “reformer” who would bring “change.” Instead, he has governed as a typical tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.

But the proper platitudes do, however, presage victory, especially in a Cook County Democratic primary where minorities and liberals predominate. As proven by Toni Preckwinkle’s sizeable Feb. 2 victory for Cook County Board president, such buzz-words as “independent,” “reformer,” and “competent” have great impact, particularly when the incumbent, Todd Stroger, is perceived as the incompetent tax-hiking non-reformer.

In analyzing the outcome, here’s a few appropriate journalistic platitudes:

* Everybody hates Todd. Stroger’s demise eclipses mere defeat or rejection, even surpasses embarrassment or humiliation, and approaches abasement and sheer mortification. The incumbent board president got 13.6 percent of the vote. That’s an astounding personal repudiation, based on voter anger and abject loathing.

Stroger won four of 50 Chicago wards, and got a mere 41.3 percent in his home 8th Ward. Overall, he took 17.1 percent of the Chicago vote, and just 8.6 percent of the suburban vote. As for his 78,532 voters, rumors abound that there are counselors available to provide trauma therapy, either for their remorse in backing him, or for their shock in being so stupid.

The Toddler’s misguided, misgoverned four-year reign is proof positive that there is no DNA gene for political astuteness. And further proof that, in 2010, tax-hikers are doomed.

* Preckwinkle is another Obama. Preckwinkle, a 19-year black Chicago alderman who rarely dissented from the council’s Daley majority, and has no governing experience, rode a tide of anti-tax, anti-Stroger sentiment, and won countywide with 50 percent. She amassed 281,905 votes, to Terry O’Brien’s 131,896 (23 percent), Dorothy Brown’s 83,150 (14.4 percent), and Stroger’s 78,532 (13.6 percent). Total turnout was 575,483

Derided by some as the “white liberal” candidate, and by others as the “Daley stealth” candidate, Preckwinkle, age 62, assembled an Obama-like coalition of blacks, Hispanics, and Lakefront and suburban white liberals, while running exceedingly well in white ethnic wards and townships.

According to official tallies, Preckwinkle won 34 of 50 wards, getting 47 percent of the Chicago ballots. She won 6 of 8 Hispanic-majority wards. She won 14 of 20 black-majority wards. She won all 6 Lakefront wards.

And she won 24 of 30 suburban townships, racking up 70 percent-plus in Barrington, Evanston, New Trier, Northfield and Oak Park townships. Preckwinkle also garnered over half the vote in white-majority Elk Grove, Hanover, Lyons, Maine, Niles, Palatine, Rich, River Forest, Riverside, Schaumburg and Wheeling townships.

In 2004, when Obama ran for the U.S. Senate, he got 301,199 votes (66.5 percent) in Chicago, and 163,718 (60.8 percent) in the suburbs. Obama ran exceedingly well in white liberal areas, and got 25-35 percent of the vote in white ethnic wards. The 2010 difference: Obama got near-unanimous black support, and Preckwinkle only 40 percent.

* Liberals love Toni. In Chicago’s Lakefront wards, which cast 43,187 votes, Preckwinkle got 29,944 votes (69.3 percent), to O’Brien’s 7,052 (16.3 percent) and Stroger’s 2,391 (5.5 percent). Preckwinkle also had huge margins in suburban liberal enclaves Evanston (77.9 percent) and Oak Park (73.8 percent).

* More blacks voted for the electable black than for the racially pandering black.
Stroger ran on the premise that the one-cent sales tax hike was “needed” to provide health services to minorities. That was a racist appeal. But many black voters intuitively understood that, with three blacks running, O’Brien would win if they did not coalesce behind a single opponent. In effect, a vote for Stroger or Brown, the Clerk of the Court, was a vote for O’Brien.

In the 20 black wards, turnout was 142,493. Preckwinkle got 57,892 votes (40.6 percent), carrying 12 of 14 South Side wards. Stroger got 43,430 votes (30.4 percent), winning the 8th, 21st, 24th and 34th wards. Brown got 33,645 votes (23.6 percent), winning the 29th and 37th wards.

In the suburbs, Preckwinkle won the black-majority townships of Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Proviso and Rich, getting 53.4 percent of the total suburban vote, to Stroger’s 8.6 percent and Brown’s 11.7 percent.

Representing the south Lakefront Hyde Park area, where Obama resides, Preckwinkle is an intellectual, not a streetwise black activist. But her goal was to get 40 percent of the black vote, and at least half of that number came from black voters who wanted to keep a black in the board presidency.

* The Daley/Madigan/Burke/Lipinski/Hynes Machine did not fare thee well.
Or did it? O’Brien, the elected 14-year president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, is a longtime Daley ally with ties to the South Side. But he ran an insipid campaign, failing to establish himself as the principal alternative to Stroger. He promised to rescind the hated sales tax hike, but not cut additional taxes or spending.

To win, O’Brien needed to be a demagogue. He needed to make a vote for him a vote against Stroger. He needed to make promises that appealed to white middle-class voters. He didn’t. And getting an anemic 23 percent of the countywide vote means his future political prospects are nil.

O’Brien did, however, carry ten city wards and six townships. He won the mayor’s 11th Ward (51.2 percent), Ed Burke’s 14th Ward (53.5 percent), Mike Madigan’s 13th Ward (42.1 percent), Bill Lipinski’s 23rd Ward (54.4 percent), and Tom Hynes’ 19th Ward (46.3 percent). But even in those wards, Preckwinkle ran well, getting 36.3 percent in the 11th, 27 in the 14th, 36.1 in the 13th, 36.4 in the 19th, and 31.8 in the 23rd Ward.

Pre-primary rumors abounded that Mayor Daley really wanted a black board president going into the 2011 mayoral election, so as to minimize black discontent. If so, he got his wish. If Daley wanted O’Brien to win, he would have gotten 70 percent in those wards.

* Adios, idiota. As in the 2008 Obama-McCain election, Chicago area Hispanics showed no hesitation in supporting a black (Preckwinkle) over Stroger. In the eight Hispanic-majority wards, which cast 30,826 votes, Preckwinkle got 13,795 votes (44.7 percent), to O’Brien’s 9,127 (29.6 percent) and Stroger’s 2,207 (7.1 percent). However, O’Brien won suburban Cicero (45.7 percent) and Stickney (56.7 percent) townships.

As with white ethnics, Hispanics clearly wanted to be rid of Stroger, and Preckwinkle was the best instrument.

* Whites will vote for the least objectionable black, especially if it means ousting the most objectionable black. On Chicago’s Northwest Side, where O’Brien, as the sole white candidate, was presumed to have appeal, only three wards carried for him: The 45th Ward, where O’Brien got 47.8 percent (3,827 votes), to Preckwinkle’s 43.5 percent; the 36th Ward, where O’Brien got 45.9 percent (3,341 votes), to Preckwinkle’s 38.6 percent; and the 41st Ward, where O’Brien got 51.9 percent (5,030 votes), to Preckwinkle’s 41.6 percent. Preckwinkle won the 32nd Ward (66.3 percent), 33rd Ward (55.5 percent), 38th Ward (49.4 percent), 39th Ward (49.8 percent), 40th Ward (56.9 percent), 47th Ward (67.5 percent), and 50th Ward (51.3 percent).

Why did Preckwinkle do so well? Four reasons: First, Stroger was deemed an abomination. He had to go. Second, O’Brien failed to click as a candidate. Third, Preckwinkle, by campaign’s end, loomed as the frontrunner. For voters determined to oust Stroger, a Preckwinkle vote did the deed, while an O’Brien vote was a waste.

And fourth, as demonstrated in the 2004 U.S. Senate primary (won by Obama) and the 2008 presidential primary (also won by Obama), there are substantial numbers of independents and liberals in the area who will vote for a non-white, non-conservative candidate.

“She (Preckwinkle) has never voted independently of (Mayor) Daley, has never implemented any reforms, and has not actually changed anything,” said Roger Keats, the former state senator who is the Republican candidate for board president. “I am change. She is business-as-usual.”

Another platitude: You can’t beat somebody – however vacuous – with nobody. Preckwinkle is the midget-killer, the woman who purged Todd Stroger. To many, she’s the good Samaritan. Keats is unknown, and it will cost him $2 million to run a viable campaign.

A final platitude: Perception defines reality. Preckwinkle is perceived by a plethora of adjectives: independent, competent, and a reformer. Like Obama, her platitudes may not presage her performance. But they are enough to enable her to win in November.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ald. Berny Stone Defends Nepotism: "They All Hate Us Anyhow."

In the wake of a Chicago Tribune investigative report which showed that Chicago Aldermen were hiring relatives and political cronies from a $1.3 million stealth fund, the Chicago City Council voted Feb. 11th to discontinue the practice.

The little noticed Finance Committee slush fund enabled the Alderman to circumvent Federal Court oversight of the city's hiring practices and which outlaw such favoritism. By using the stealth account, Aldermen managed to hire at least 2 fathers, a mother and a daughter and a bevy of favored ward heelers including one on the city's "do-not-hire" list for sexual harassment charges.

Alderman Isaac Carothers, who recently resigned after pleading guilty in federal court to bribery charges, implied that the practice is more widespread saying, "All us Aldermen have family members on the payroll -- that's nothing new."

Chicago Aldermen have long been the subject of popular derision. Mike Royko, perhaps Chicago's all-time greatest journalist used to call them "Alderboobs" and pea-brained.

So it was no great surprise when, during the debate on the measure, one of the defenders of the nepotistic practice, Alderman Berny Stone (D-50th)should put forth one of the most novel defenses for shady political practices ever uttered by man.

"The general public's opinion of the aldermen themselves is so low, that if you are going to sit and worry about what their opinion is of hiring members of the aldermen's family, it's probably no greater than it is of the aldermen, "Stone said.

In other words: "They all hate us anyhow -- so why bother to reform?"

When you think of it, Stone's philosophic defense of the Chicago Way is kind of liberating. Kind of refreshingly nihilistic. It has kind of an Alfred E. Neumann, "What Me Worry?" tinge to it.

Reminds me of Randy Newman's satiric "Political Science" song from his 1972 Sail Away album. In it he advocated nuking the entire world.

"They all hate us anyhow
So Let's drop the big one now.
Let's drop the big one now."

Alderman Berny Stone (who has a daughter on his Aldermanic payroll)was first elected to the City Council back in 1973 when Randy Newman's debut album was first working its way up the charts.

Maybe that's what gave him the idea.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Illegal Alien Lobby Rallies for IL State Income Tax Hike

"We need a path to citizenship for the undocumented people who are working and contributing with their sweat and paying their taxes." Joshua Hoyt, Director, IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 1/15/10

"They (illegal aliens)are paying taxes anyway, even if they are using other's Social Security or fake Social Security or whatever, they are paying taxes" NPR Ap 17, 2007

The poor beleagured Illinois illegal alien! As if he didn't have enough trouble with Barack Obama backing off his pledge to put amnesty on the legislative front burner and with the ever present threat that he might be detained by ICE for possible deportation with his next traffic stop and with the downturn in the construction and restaurant economy -- he now finds that even his own leaders want to increase his taxes.

That's right, the state's principal advocacy groups for immigrants rights were down in Springfield last week as part of a larger coalition of labor and social welfare groups, urging our legislators to pass HB 174. That bill would increase the state income tax from 3% to 5% on individuals.

Here are the immigrant welfare advocacy groups that signed on to the "Responsible Budget Coalition," which assembled in the state Capitol last week to demand that we all shell out more in state income taxes:

Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois - El Valor Corporation ~ Esperanza Community Services ~ Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights ~ Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights ~ Latino Consortium ~ Latino Organization of the Southwest ~ Latino Policy Forum ~ McHenry Co. Latino Coalition ~ Mujeres Latinas en Acción ~ ~Polish American Association ~~ Proveedores en Acción para Nuestros Niños ~ ~ South Asian Progressive Action Collective ~

For years, Joshua Hoyt, the state's chief illegal alien dissembler, has been telling us that illegal aliens pay taxes just like everyone else. Even more so, he says, since they have no hope of retrieving their social security taxes.

So why then is he, along with every other immigrant welfare outfit, working feverishly to increase income taxes?

Could it be that old Josh may just have been spewing out so much prevaricating hogwash all along?

Could it be that that just as immigration control advocates have been arguing all along, immigration poses a serious net drain on our ever declining public purse? That immigrants eat up far more in tax services that they pay in taxes?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tax Eaters Rally in Springfield for Tax Increase

Today at 11 am, an aggregation of tax-dependent interest groups rallied in at the Capitol in Springfield to call on the General Assembly to increase the income tax rates for Illinois working people and businesses.

The main organizers of the event were the SEIU public employees union and Illinois' two teachers unions, the IFT and IEA. Calling themselves The Responsible Budget Coalition, they assembled a gaggle of other tax-dependent groups to call on lawmakers to support HB 174, a bill which would increase the state income tax for individuals from 3% to 5% and for corporations from 4.8% to 7.2%.

See a synopsis of the bill here.

The bill has already passed the State Senate 31-27 on May 30th and is currently sitting in the House Rules Committee awaiting further consideration.

The Coalition demanding a tax hike consists of a broad array of non-profit advocacy groups, ranging from the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to the Featherfist homeless lobby group.

Apparently some in the coalition viewed the tax hike contained in HB 174 as being too paltry as the coalition mission statement calls for a tax increase "at least of that magnitude."

Here is a complete list of the organizations that are rallying today to increase your income taxes:

AARP Illinois ~ A Safe Haven ~ Access Living ~ Action Now ~ Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. ~ AFSCME Council 31 ~ AFSCME Retirees Chapter 31 ~ AIDS Foundation of Chicago ~ Albany Park Neighborhood Council ~ Allendale Association ~ Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County ~ Alternative Schools Network ~ Alternatives, Inc. ~ Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 ~ Anixter Center ~ Arts Alliance Illinois ~ Bethany for Children & Families ~ Bethel New Life ~ Better Funding for Better Schools Coalition ~ Business and Professional People for the Public Interest ~ Carole Robertson Center for Learning ~ Center for Economic Progress ~ Centers for New Horizons ~ Chestnut Health Systems ~ Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation ~ Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness ~ Chicago Chapter Coalition of Labor Union Women ~ Chicago Coalition for the Homeless ~ Chicago Coalition of Site Administered Child Care Programs~ Chicago Democratic Socialists of America ~ Chicago Jobs Council ~ Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers ~ Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network ~ Children's Home + Aid ~ ChildServ ~ Citizen Action/Illinois ~ Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois ~ Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois ~ Community Behavioral Healthcare Association ~ Community Counseling Center of Northern Madison County ~ Community Health Partnership of Illinois ~ Community Renewal Society ~ Connections for Abused Women and their Children ~ Cornerstone Services, Inc. ~ Counseling Center of Lake View ~ Deborah’s Place ~ Delta Center, Inc. ~ ED-RED (Education - Research - Development) ~ 8th Day Center for Justice ~ El Valor Corporation ~ Emergency Fund ~ Equip for Equality ~ Erie Neighborhood House ~ Esperanza Community Services ~ Families’ and Children’s Aids Network ~ Family Focus ~ FEATHERFIST ~ Federation for Community Schools ~ FITE Center for Independent Living ~ Gads Hill Center ~ Good News Community Kitchen ~ Good Shepherd Center ~ Grassroots Collaborative ~ Greene County Health Department ~ Grow Your Own Illinois ~ Health and Disability Advocates ~ Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights ~ Hesed House/PADS, Inc. ~ HMPRG Center for Long Term Care Reform ~ Home of Life M.B. Church ~ Housing Action Illinois ~ Housing Opportunities for Women ~ Housing Options of Evanston ~ ICIRR ~ IFF ~ Illinois Action for Children ~ Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention ~ Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans ~ Illinois Assistive Technology Program ~ Illinois Association for Gifted Children ~ Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies ~ Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Inc. ~ Illinois Association of School Nurses ~ Illinois Association of School Social Workers ~ Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Inc. ~ Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health ~ Illinois Center for Violence Prevention ~ Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights ~ Illinois Education Association ~ Illinois Federation of Teachers ~ Illinois Library Association ~ Illinois Library Systems Director's Organization ~ Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition ~ Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living ~Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living ~ IMPACT CIL ~ INCCRRA ~ ~ Inspiration Corporation ~ Interdependent Living Solutions Center ~ Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs ~Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living ~ Jane Addams Hull House Association ~ Jewish Council on Urban Affairs ~Lake County Center for Independent Living ~ Lake County Housing Action Coalition ~ Lakeside Community Development Corporation ~ Large Unit District Association ~ Latino Consortium ~ Latino Organization of the Southwest ~ Latino Policy Forum ~ League of Women Voters Illinois ~League of Women Voters of Wheaton, IL ~ Legislative Education Network of DuPage ~ Lewis & Clark Library System ~ Liberated Inc. ~ LIFE Center for Independent Living ~ Lifelink Corporation ~ LINC INC ~ Logan Square Neighborhood Association ~ Lutheran Advocacy-Illinois ~ Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois ~ Lutheran Social Services of Illinois ~ Madison County Continuum of Care ~ Marillac Social Center ~ McHenry Co. Latino Coalition ~ Mujeres Latinas en Acción ~ NAMI Illinois ~ NAMI of Greater Chicago ~ National Association of Social Workers Illinois Chapter ~ New Foundation Center, Inc. ~ North Suburban Teachers Union (IFT/AFT Local 1274)~ North Suburban Library System ~ Northwest Neighborhood Federation ~ Older Women's League (OWL) ~ OWL Northeast Chicago Chapter ~ Opportunities for Access ~ Ordinary People NFP ~ Ounce of Prevention Fund ~PACE, Inc. Center for Independent Living ~ Peace and Justice Committee ~ Pediatric Aids Chicago Prevention Initiative ~ Planned Parenthood of Illinois ~Polish American Association ~ Prevention First ~ Project IRENE ~ Project Oz ~ Protestants for the Common Good ~ Proveedores en Acción para Nuestros Niños ~ ~Renaissance Women ~ Rosecrance Health Network ~ Safer Foundation ~ St. Vincent De Paul Center ~ Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law ~ SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana ~ SEIU Illinois Council ~ Self Advocacy Council of Northern Illinois ~ Society of the Holy Child Jesus ~ South Asian Progressive Action Collective ~ South Cooperative Organization for Public Education ~ SouthSTAR Services ~ Springfield Center for Independent Living ~ Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois ~ Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters ~ Supportive Housing Providers Association ~ TASC, Inc. ~ Test Positive Aware Network ~ The ARC of Illinois ~ The Center ~ The Hope Institute for Children and Families ~ The Night Ministry ~ The Resurrection Project ~ Thresholds ~ Through A Child’s Eyes Pre-K Program ~ UNITE HERE Local 1 ~ United African Organization ~ United Power for Action and Justice ~ Voices for Illinois Children ~ Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living ~ Women Employed ~ Women + Girls Collective Action Network ~ Youth Guidance ~ Youth Network Council ~Youth Organizations Umbrella ~ YWCA Metropolitan Chicago ~ YWCAs Illinois ~ Zion Development Corporation

A perusal of the list clearly suggests the self-interested nature of the call for tax increases as virtually all of the members are tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations dependent on government largesse.

Old Ben Franklin proferred two foresightful observations on events such as we're seeing today in Springfield:

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Knack's Fieger Dies at 57

Doug Fieger, front man for the New Wave group, the Knack and co-author of the 1979 #1 hit, My Sharona, died yesterday of lung cancer.

The song was written for a 17 year old girl with whom he became obsessed. After she grew up a bit, they became very good friends (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, yaknowwhatimean?.) It was my favorite song of that year, re-capturing, it seemed to me, the clarity and straightforward simplicity of mid-60s American and British-invasion rock.

I was dating a finishing school girl at the time who was two years older than this Sharona of musical repute. Her country-clubbing Texas mother gave me a disc of the song:

US Olympic Luge Team Adopts New Theme Song

Undaunted by the tragic death of Georgian Olympic luger, Nodar Kumaritshvili, and reassured by the pronouciamentos of International Olympic officials that while the fatal luge course was safe -- they now have improved it to be "extra-super safe" -- the US Olympic luge team, true American street daredevils that they are, unanimously voted to adopt the following song as their official theme:

"Well the last thing I remember, doc, I started to swerve
And then I saw the luge slide into the curve
I'll never forget that horrible sight
I guess I found out that everyone was right

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brady Covering His Tracks on Illegal Alien Support

Smarting from primary election criticisms over his past votes for measures supporting the aspirations of Illinois' illegal alien population, apparent GOP Gubenatorial nominee, State Sen. Bill Brady last Wednesday introduced a bill to deny state mortgage loans to them.

The measure, SB 3457 (see detailed synopsis here)basically instructs the Illinois State Housing Development Authority not to buy mortgage loans made by banks or other lenders to illegal aliens.

The bill was referred to the nether regions of the Committee on Assignments, where, given the Democrat majority in the State Senate it is almost certain to never see the light of day.

But it would appear that Brady is trying to place a symbolic smokescreen around his past votes for three major bills that were avidly prized by illegal alien advocacy groups.

During the 93rd General Assembly, in April of 2003, Brady voted for the Illinois "Dream Act," (HB 60) which made illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition rates at Illinois state universities. That bill, which was co-sponsored in the State Senate by one Barack Obama, handily passed both houses of the legislature and became law.

Then during the 94th General Assembly, in April of 2005, Brady voted with the Democrat majority to help pass the Matricula Consular bill, SB 1623, which permitted state agencies to accept ID documents issued by foreign governments, as acceptable ID for the provision of various state services. The foreign documentation is regularly used by illegal aliens who cannot legally acquire legitimate state identification cards.

Then during the 95th General Assembly, in May of 2007, Brady voted for HB 1744, which effectively precluded Illinois employers from using the federal E-Verify database to ascertain the legality of the work status of their prospective hires.

The Illinois measure, which passed handily, demands that the feds demonstrate that their system is 99% accurate within a 3 day response period, before Illinois employers can rely on it. (Isn't it truly heartening to see a state government that is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, demand Prussian efficiency from another level of government?) The bill was eagerly sought by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and others in the state's illegal alien lobby.

During the primary campaign, Brady was excoriated in the conservative blogosphere for these votes and began to take hits from several of his GOP rivals on this score.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, as of 2007 there were 775,000 illegal aliens in Illinois and on a net basis, they cost the state government $3.5 billion annually.

In a time of high unemployment, rising educational costs and looming state budgetary disaster, these costs take on a higher level of salience than in the past.

Consequently, Brady dropped his symbolic bill to "get tough" on prospective illegal alien home mortgagees last week to cover his tracks.

Political analyst, Jeff Berkowitz characterized Democrat Pat Quinn's positions on illegal alien control as being "predictably liberal."

So it would seem that for yet another election cycle, Illinois voters will not likely be presented with a serious debate over the impact of illegal aliens. Nor, once again, will they likely be presented with meaningful philosophic and policy alternatives.

But the but the 800 pound gorilla is still in the room.

Happy Chicago St. Valentine's Day

What other city on the face of the earth can boast such a rich St. Valentine's day heritage? And even glorify its sinister past on the pop music charts?

Happy (frigid) Chicago St. Valentine's Day everybody!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

ABBA Fans Strike Back

Most Americans would find this amazing, but there are a sizable number of people out there -- mostly in backwashes like Australia, Canada and Europe -- who actually still like, in fact, even idolize and revere the 70s-vintage Euro pop act, ABBA.

I discovered this when I went to research several pieces that I did arguing the absurdity of ABBA's impending induction into Jann Wenner's Rock 'n roll Hall of Fame.

The archived critiques can be seen here: and here:

There are literally hundreds of websites and blogs devoted to the worship of the Swedish quartet -- many of them still quite active and not all products of the official ABBA business consortium.

It is interesting to note that of the many hundreds who read the most recent critique, fewer than 25% were from the USA. That's understandable, given the fact that, aside from the pre-adolescent teeny-bop crowd, ABBA attained comparatively very little public acceptance in the world's largest popular music market.

Many of the ABBA enthusiasts reacted to my critique with schoolyard taunts questioning the legitimacy of my familial origions or the viability of my mental condition. And some suggested interesting and unusual anatomical feats that I should consider performing on myself.

But a very few put forth, more or less, serious logical attempts to justify the ABBA induction travesty.

Here are several:

One Rudolf Ondrich from Europe wrote:

Hmmmmm. I do get that this is satire, but it is pretty crap.

And ABBA do belong in the HoF based on musical reasons.

There is nothing light and fluffy about the music of ABBA. The Album (1977), Super Trouper (1980) and The Visitors (1981) are all brilliant, well crafted albums. Most people make the assumption ABBA only wrote Mamma Mia or Dancing Queen over and over again, that is simply the most silliest idea one can have about the music of ABBA.

Here is my personal input – In the mid-19th Century the music of the composer Richard Wagner represented a new phase of music, whereas the music of the composer Johannes Brahms was considered much more conservative and old-fashioned. At the time, everyone considered the music of these two men to be totally separate and no one would say they are the same genre, (Old Style Vs New Style), whereas nowadays they are seen under the same umbrella (ie German Romanticism). Could one day Rock Vs Pop become one group of music?

And one anonymous female writer from abroad argued that ABBA were, far from being a female sexploitative glorified pole dancing act, a significant force for feminism and serious social commentary:

One of the many good things about ABBA was that they brought a lot of female viewpoints, previously unheard in music, out into the open, such as in Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! and even in Dancing Queen. The male dominated rock and roll scene up to that time( and even since) had and has an almost exclusively 100% male social viewpoint. As ABBA's career coincided with the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970's, that makes ABBA a significant social commentator in music.

I guess this is the kind of artistically immortal German Classicism and poignant feminism of which they speak:

So, you see, once again, we silly Americans just don't get it and need the Europeans and 3rd Worlders to enlighten us.

We just couldn't fathom ABBA's profundity and biting social commentary.

No wonder the French think Jerry Lewis is a comedic genius and the Germans think David Hasselhoff is a serious actor and we effete Americans have cruelly overlooked their greatness.

And they also think that soccer is a serious sport.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WLS's Mancow for Cotto = Cubs' Brock for Broglio

A few hours ago WLS 890 AM announced that it would replace super shock-jock, Mancow Muller, with former Moody Bible divinity student and traffic news reader, Cisco Cotto in its 9 to 11 am morning slot.

WLS station manager, Michael Damsky told the Chicago Sun-Times that the move was designed to give the station a more consistent conservative talk sound.

In that he certainly succeeded as the diminutive Bible thumper, Cotto is certainly more consistently dull.

To be sure, WLS thoroughly misused the flamboyant talents of Mancow by pairing him with the wearisome, middle-aged former WBBM-AM newsreader, Pat Cassidy. In fact the odd couple of the Chicago airwaves almost came to actual on-air blows on several occasions during their stormy year and a half together.

Cotto is the darling of the religious right-to-life mavens of the Illinois Review and certainly will provide a predictably conservative lead-in to Rush Limbaugh at 11 am. But Mancow may have provided the most incisive and witty libertarian-conservative critique of the Chicago Way ever to have been heard here. He once almost had leftist Congressperson, Jan Schakowsky in tears.

And with the exception of WGN's Garry Meier and WCPT's Jake Hartford (both of whom also were cut loose by the dour WLS), Mancow was the only genuine funny AM presence in Chicago.

The CST's media critic, Lewis Lazare, wrote that the sacking of Mancow was an attempt by WLS to shore up its flagging ratings among 25 to 54 year old adult listeners.

Oh, yea, this is going to work.

Just as it did for Cubs' General Manager, John Holland who in 1964 set out to shore up the Cubs shaky starting rotation by trading a young left fielder by the name of Lou Brock for an ailing right handed starter by the name of Ernie Broglio.

That season, Brock (whose talents were underutilized by the Cubs, much as Mancow's by WLS) sparked the Cardinals to a World Championship with 20+ steals and a .315 batting average.

That same year, Broglio posted a 4-7 record with a 4.04 ERA for the Cubs who finished a dismal 8th place in the then 10 team NL. He was out of baseball in a year and a half.

Brock, of course, went on to have a stellar career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1985.

I trust that Bruce DuMont has Mancow's niche ready at the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications on North La Salle St., because the nationally syndicated superjock will almost certainly end up there.

And Cisco Cotto can be hired to dust off Mancow's plaque and conduct tours.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Did ABBA Make Kiddie Porn?

Readers of this blog know that I have been waging an energetic campaign against ABBA's election into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame since the preposterous notion first surfaced. My efforts seemed to have come to naught with the December announcement that the Swedish teeny-bop popsters would be inducted into the 2010 class this coming March.

It seems that the Rock Hall of Fame's chieftain, Rolling Stone's Jan Wenner stacked the deck in ABBA's favor. Seems he thinks that old videos of Agnetha Faltskog wiggling her magnificent Nordic derriere will do more for the induction show's VH-1 ratings than videos of the Moody Blues or Jethro Tull or some other worthy, but as yet uninducted genuine rock band.

The thought of the Euro ear-candy purveyors sharing the same status as John Lennon, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry is appalling to say the least.

But after exhaustive research, I have unearthed evidence that may forestall this unhappy development. You see, ABBA shamelessly promoted Lolitaism. It actually celebrated the notion of schoolchildren having liaisons with their teachers.

In the weeks leading up to the Who's Superbowl performance, a group of Holy Rollers began protesting Peter Townsend's appearance, citing his 1983 arrest for allegedly downloading child pornography. He was acquitted.

But the Swedish schlockmeisters, ABBA, it turns out, actually thought intimate relations between underaged students and their teachers was cute.

Look at the lyrics to one of their early teeny-bop offerings called, "When I Kissed the Teacher:"

One of these days
Gonna tell him I dream of him every night
One of these days
Gonna show him I care, gonna teach him a lesson alright

I was in a trance when I kissed the teacher
Suddenly I took the chance when I kissed the teacher
Leaning over me, he was trying to explain the laws of geometry
And I couldn't help it, I just had to kiss the teacher

And Agnetha and Anna-Frid really Lolita-ed it up in this old video:

I am calling on the morality police to demand that Jann Wenner rescind his Hall of Fame honors for the purveyors of this outright smut.

And I am calling on the AFT and NEA to denounce this incitement of teachers to engage in conduct that is outlawed by the Illinois Human Rights Act.

That's right. This Act was designed to safeguard us from the horrors of sexual harassment. Among many other things it outlaws "unwelcome advances or conduct of a sexual nature and requests for sexual favors by an executive, faculty member, adminstative staff member or teaching assistant."

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has a whole big bureaucracy in place to enforce this Act and bring down the wrath of God onto the sex-crazed didacts who might violate its spirit.

So it is clear that ABBA in the above video was engaging in the most egregious advocacy of clearly illegal activity.

On that basis alone they are not worthy of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

And also because they were not real rock 'n rollers.

Should Chicago's Jews Apologize for Scott Lee Cohen?

Mickey Cohen was a murderous Jewish gangster during the wild and woolley days of prohibition-era gangster violence.

He suffered a well deserved death by tommy-gun execution at the hands of fellow mobsters.

But if he could be reincarnated and fast-forwarded to 2010 -- he could probably dig up some of his buried cash, use it to run for high public office, be readily embraced by Chicago's Jewish community -- and get elected!!

After all -- doesn't matter who he was -- or what he did -- or who he killed -- just good enough that he has a Jewish name!!!

Much has been made of the fact that in the 6 man race for Illinois Lt. Governor, the Latino candidate, Thomas Michael Castillo, prevailed in the largely Latino communities. He carried heavily Mexican Cicero with 42% of the vote to Turner's 30% and Cohen's 18%.

And it has been mentioned that the 2 black candidates, State Sen. Art Turner and State Rep. Rickey Hendon, cleaned up in the black communities.

In Calumet Township, Turner polled 36% and Hendon 26% with the whites and Latino far behind.

But apparently the strictures of political correctness have constrained the mainstream media from mentioning that Scott Lee Cohen was the wildly overwhelming favorite of Chicago's Jewish community.

He had no experience in politics, no involvement in Chicago's Jewish community -- but he did have a Jewish name.

And he did have the same political consultants, Grainger Terry, who squeaked out a win for Alderman Berny Stone (the landlord's Alderman) last election in Chicago's 50th Ward.

So of the 50 Wards in Chicago -- guess in which one Cohen triumphed overwhelmingly?

In the "Golden Ghetto", Alderman Berny Stone's heavily Jewish 50th Ward. The Democrat Committeeman there is a religiously Orthodox Jew and politically ultra-liberal, State Sen. Ira Silverstein.

There Cohen garnered a full 48% of the vote -- compared to peanuts for the non-Jewish candidates.

And of the 30 Cook County Townships -- in which one do you think pawnbroker Cohen cleaned up?

It was in Niles Township, with its heavy representation of Jewish voters in Skokie, Lincolnwood and Morton Grove. It gave the steroid pumping pawnbroker his #1 Township vote total with 43% for him and scraps for the other five Democrats.

This hasn't been a good 12 months for the Chicago Jewish Community. Many high rollers therin and serious Chicago Jewish philanthropic groups lost a lot of their savings by having put their faith in Berny Madoff, whom the Chicago Jewish News on its front page called, "The World's Worst Jew."

Now the Chicago Jewish community has its knee-jerk ethnocentric Democrat support for Scott Lee Cohen to explain away.

Here's a novel concept -- why not consider not always voting Democrat for a change? Perhaps then, it would broaden the Jewish base of options so that Chicago Jews could vote for ethnically kindred spirits who did not (allegedly) accost prostitutes with knives, abandon their wives and children and engage in the shadiest of entrepreneurial endeavors?

(More on this later in the next post where we assess the Jewish vote in Highland Park and Glencoe for Democrat, high school dropout, pawnbroker, Cohen vs. that for 40year old, Republican, University of Chicago, MD graduate, pediatrician, father of
5, observant Jew and former US Navy Fighter pilot, Dr. Arie Friedman. -- Need I tell you which Jewish candidate Jewish voters preferred there? -- Stay tuned.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Chicagoan Looks At Washington D.C.'s Snowtime Comedy Capers

There are precious few endeavors at which Chicagoans can snidely proclaim their superiority. Certainly not in the realms of judicious choice of civic leadership or in professional baseball prowess.

But Chicagoans are pretty good at contending with the snow. God knows they get enough practice. The denizens of Washington D.C. are not.

In fact Washingtonians are laughably inept by our standards.

That is why I have to laugh at the thought of Washington D.C. today having to endure an onslaught of up to 3 feet of snow.

Washington is a Southern city. It was carved out of pieces of Virginia, capitol of General Robert E. Lee's Great Commonwealth and bits of the Southern part of Maryland.

It is crawling with people from the sun drenched Carolinas and Texas and Georgia who work in Congress and the bureaucracies. It is home to thousands of diplomats from such balmy places as Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Brazil.

These people are clueless when it comes to handling snow.

I spent more than a decade in that city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm and I can attest to this.

During my first year there, my Cheesehead Wisconsinite roomate and I were listening to the radio one winter morning before work and the D.C. radio jocks were feverishly going on and on about a "snow emergency." They were rattling off the lists of schools and workplaces that were closed. They were issuing dire warnings to stay huddled inddors, if at all possible.

Then we walked up the stairs of our English Basement apartment into the DC morning to see 3 inches of snow on the ground. 3 inches!!! The Cheesehead immediately laughed and proclaimed: "Snow Emergency???"

DC denizens do not know how to drive in the snow.

Their immediate response to getting stuck in a snow rut is to floor the pedal and create an intractable ice patch in which they then will be truly stuck.

No one apparently ever taught the drivers ed students of Atlanta and Zambia that you do not turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction to correct a skid.

Consequently, the scenic DC Rock Creek Parkway is today, almost certainly resembling the demolition derby event I once witnessed in Elkhart, Wisconsin.

DC denizens do not know how to shovel snow.

Up and down my block in Upper Northwest DC, I would see people trying to clear their sidewalks with brooms and dustpans.

One South Carolina woman I knew in DC tried to eradicate the ice on her front steps by pouring hot water on it!! This in sub freezing temps.

And as for municipal snow removal from the streets -- forget about it. The DC municipal government which is a paragon of inefficiency and ineptitude in the best of times (remember Mayor Marion Barry?) is the municipal equivalent of Moe, Larry and Curly when it comes to street plowing.

Snow will usually have to wait to melt on the sidestreets before DC will ever get around to clearing it.

And DC people apparently don't even know that snowballs are not lethal weapons. This was comically illustrated several weeks ago when a black DC cop was filmed pulling his gun on a bunch of snowball-fighting college kids, because his car had just been hit by a snowball.

But the funniest thing is the response of the Federal bureaucrats to the "snow emergency" announcements.

On days with any snow accumulation, the federal agencies announce that they are closed except for "essential personnel," who are expected to summon up the bravery and pluck of Admiral Byrd of the Arctic and somehow manage to master the elements and come to work.

Since no bureaucrat ever wants to concede that his or her very presence on the job is not absolutely vital to the very life of the Republic, the bureaucracies have extremely low absentee rates when that "snow emergency" announcement is made.

I am not making this up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead: RINO Coulson Beaten in GOP Primary

The poster child for liberal Republican RINOism, State Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, was beaten in yesterday's 10th Congressional District primary election to fill the seat held by Cong. Mark Kirk. She had been endorsed by former Governor Jim Edgar and was favored to win. She was beaten by conservative Kenilworth businessman, Bob Dold, who will now face off against perennial candidate, Democrat Dan Seals, in the general election.

Apparently not enough NARAL abortion activists, Sierra Club environmental wackos, multiculturalist mavens, anti-2nd Amendment gun grabbers and general nanny-state enthusiasts could be induced to take a Republican ballot, thereby depriving Coulson of her customary base vote.

Since she was precluded by law from simultaneously running for re-election for her state legislative seat, she is now out of public life.

Ding Dong! The Witch is dead.
Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Wake up - sleepy head,
rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.

She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below.
Yo-ho, let's open up and sing
and ring the bells out.

Ding Dong' the merry-oh,
sing it high, sing it low.

Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!

Lyrics by: E. Yip Harburg (Edgar Yipsel H.)
Music by: Harold Arlen (b. Hyman Arluck)
From the Film: The Wizard Of Oz 1939 (M)