Category Archives: chicago

What was wrong with Obama’s speech? Everything.

In presenting his so-called “Jobs Plan” to the Congress, President Obama was 100 percent in everything he is good at. 

1.  It was a well crafted and delivered  campaign speech — more fitting for the stomp than a joint session of the United States Congress.  There is no doubt that Obama can make a good speech.  It is hard to disagree with a lot of things he says.  However, what he does not say and what he does has little in common with his words.  This was not an exception.  It is a character trait.  He lies on a grand scale — a strategy that I suspect he learned under the tutelage of his Chicago Machine handlers.

2.  In that mode, he was naturally lacking in detail.  His repeated call for the Congress to quickly pass his self-proclaimed perfect plan before seeing if there is even a pig in the poke is outrageously arrogant.

3.  He reinforced his reputation as a strident philosophic and political partisan.  The speech was all about politics to the exclusion of economic realities.  Notice that he wants the taxpayers to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to feed money to his base, mostly the unions and government workers.  His promised assist to the millions of small businesses is a sop and any advantage will be wiped out by the negative impact of the increased debt and continuation of draconian regulations.  He is using the federal treasure and our children’s money in the hope of gaining permanent empowerment for his party and his radical left philosophy.  His unabated scheme is to make Washington and the White House more powerful at the expense of the people.

4.  He set up the same old trick that got us into this mess.   He wants to spend up to $500 billion more borrowed dollars with the claim that it is all “paid for.”  That is not just a lie, it is a dangerous and damnable lie.  According to Obama, the $500 billion will come from cuts in the envisioned increases in federal spending over the next ten years.  Under his plan, the federal budget will continue to grow, the deficit will surge to a new unfathomable level and our children and grandchildren will pay the price when the federal budget bubble bursts.  Even if he was well-intentioned, there is no way that he can guarantee that future congresses will follow through on even the cuts in proposed new spending.

5.  He played the shop worn “bleeding heart” card.  He wants to help the elderly, and children and keep teachers in the classrooms.  He carried forward the progressives’ favorite tactics — social division, class warfare and fear-mongering.  It is easy to talk about all the good things we could do with another trillion dollars or two.  But it does not take a degree in economics (and I have one, by the way) to understand that even our best intentions and most charitable instincts have to be carried out within the limits of our resources. 

So … if Obama knows all this, and I am sure he does, why does he pursue such destructive policies.  It is obvious.  His goals and objectives are purely political and partisan.  He and his ilk want to use the financial crises and public fear to gain more power for their idea of a ruling elite.  Yet!  That’s it, folks.  Remember, it was his senior advisor, Rahm Emmanuel, who opined that “no good crisis should go to waste.”

If you want to understand the Obama game, look at it this way.  let’s say I earned only enough money to pay 52 percent of my bills, so  I borrowed 48 percent of the money from the bank– and this has been going on for years until my interest payment to the bank each month is more than all my other bills.  Even though I am not sure of my income in the next ten years, I go to the bank and ask for another huge loan on top of all that I already owe — and I promise to repay them out of the additional money I hope to make in future years.  I suspect the banker would think I was stark raving mad — and I would be.  But this is exactly the Obama jobs scam.  He expects the American public to be suckers at least one more time.

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>OBSERVATION: Looking forward to the Chicago Olympics

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Not considering the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, I felt pretty safe in predicting early on that Chicago will not get awarded the 2016 Olympics. My! My! How things can change.

If President Obama puts in a major effort, as he said he would and I have no doubt he will, then the odds change dramatically. When this decision is made next year, Obama will be at the peak of popularity as an international leader and personality. Other heads-of-state, who would have no reason to support the American bid under war-monger Bush or his look-alike successor, can be persuaded to gain points with the new leader of the free world by supporting the Olympic bid through their representative on the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

With ties to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Obama is arguably the most international President we have since our English-bred founders. Most certainly, a number of national representatives on the liberal leaning IOC will find it appealing to indirectly endorse the election of America’s first African-American (with an Arabic name, no less) to hold the Oval Office. The OIC will like the image of President Barack Obama cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremonies.

Obama helps the Chicago bid in other ways. Chicago’s shortcomings in infrastructure will be quickly corrected by an infusion of federal dollars. If Obama removes U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the rising tide of indictments would likely crest before reaching the fifth floor of City Hall. Political leadership in Chicago will again be “stable.”

While any President may want the Olympics, Obama has the strongest motivation to put this higher up on his priority list. No only will he be lobbying on behalf of his country, but for the benefit of his home town – and the political machine that got him where he is today.

Another Obama advantage is taming the civic wolves. A lot of civic organizations, largely minority groups led by local community organizers, have already fired warnings across the bow of the local Olympic support committee. Civil unrest is never attractive to the IOC. Once their beloved Obama endorses the plan, these voices of opposition will fall silent.

From no chance, Obama, in my view, has transformed Chicago into the city to beat for the Olympics.

>REACT: Obama a reformer? Puhleeeez

>In a recent Chicago Sun-Times column, Carol Marin advised Barack Obama to start naming his Cabinet as a means to get past the lipstick level journalism of the day. She suggested naming U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as Attorney General. A splendid choice, but the usually insightful columnist seems to have forgotten where she resides. So, I thought I should send her this letter.

Dear Carol,

I am a great fan of you and your professional work. However, your recent Obama column shocked me for your lack of realization of the world in which you live. Apparently you got suckered into believing that Obama IS a reformer. Oh sure, he is selling that image nationally where people do not know Chicago and Illinois politics. But, you should know better.

Obama is the product of arguably the most corrupt political operation in America. For Mayor Daley to sanctimoniously deny the existence of “the Machine” is as absurd as his father once denying the presence of “the Mob” in Chicago.

(I have to interject here. LMAO The photo on the right of Obama and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is the first photo that pops up on google images when you search for “Chicago political corruption.” And you think life ain’t full of funnyironies? Actually, under that search there are quite a few photos of Obama and nefarious characters. Okay, back to the letter.)

Obama was first elected to office by knocking all the competition off the ballot in the good old Chicago tradition. He was the benefactor of the patronage of some of the sleaziest influence peddlers and inside wheeler-dealers – one of whom, Tony Rezko (left), is now a convicted criminal.

Obama endorsed all the machine candidates, and in doing so he endorsed flagrant cronyism, nepotism and illegal patronage. His political god-father is Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who supported legislative pay raises while opposing every bit of reform legislation. His chief political consultant, David Axelrod has been the flack for the machine for years. And on and on.

And what about Obama, himself? He has never … not once … produced or supported any reform legislation. He has never voiced criticism of the corrupt practices of the Machine. Most recently, he was asked to encourage Jones to pass ethics legislation. He demurred. Never once has he pointed a reform finger at the corruption within his own political base. He never challenged the establishment. He never voiced his support for whistle blowers and investigators. He never promoted “change” in Illinois – believable or otherwise.

On the other hand, as a state senator, he played Chicago-style politics by doling out taxpayer money to friends and supporters without much oversight and accountability. Several of his community improvement projects failed and the money “vanished.” He left his district not much better than he found it.

On the matter of Fitzgerald (right), Carol, you completely missed the mark. As President, Obama will do what the Machine demands – fire Fitzgerald. The most serious problem the machine has is a truly honest, independent REFORM U.S. Attorney. Whatever promises or lip service you may hear to the contrary, Obama will serve the Machine, not the public interest, in this matter. He owes the Machine bosses that much. He will deliver in the good old Chicago way.

>REACT: Pay-for-Grades … more nonsense from education industry

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As a long time education consultant, I take a special interest in the subject of urban education. I never cease to be amazed at the idiotic stuff the education industry comes up with to pretend to reform our city school systems which they do not really wish to reform. That is why decades of so-called “reforms” have failed at the bottom line – student performance.

These are the folks who have jerry-rigged test scores to make results look better. They promoted black vernacular under some notion that black students cannot learn English. They produce Spanish-only education, insuring that Hispanics will not matriculate successfully into the American culture (<= read that, good jobs). They invented “social promotions” to shove ill-prepared kids out of their classrooms and schools. They keep students held prisoners in substandard schools rather than embrace school choice. They have opposed every effort to rid the schools of unqualified and underperforming teachers. Because diplomas are now meaningless as indicators of a student’s knowledge, the education lobby offers special senior year testing to see who has skill levels and who does not. They have shortened the school day and school year to provide more time off for teachers and less education time for students. (You wonder why the Asian education system is killing us).

Now cometh the newest doomed-to-failure idiocy from the folks in Chicago.
In 20 schools students will receive cash on the barrel head for grades. Not only does this create the wrong incentives. It violates every notion of the purpose of education as a life-long process. More importantly, however, it will further corrupt an already corrupt system. With that added incentive of money (the source of all corruption), students, parents and teachers will game the system. We will see superficial success in the improvement in grades, but it will not indicate an improvement in learning. The system will dumb down the grades even further to get the money. Simple as that.
This is a form of bribery – paying money for something that should be accomplished without monetary compensation. Oh! Wait! This is Chicago, where bribery, of one sort or another, is the only way to get things done.
We are not talking allowance and lunch money. A straight-A student in one of the select school can “earn” up to $4000. But even Cs can get you money. Being average, even mediocre, is no barrier to financial rewards. The kids get half the money with the grade, and the other half is reserved for them until they graduate.
Now, my cynical mind wants to know … where is the reserved money kept? Is it just a down the line expense that will have to be funded later. That’s one of the major problems already. Or … will the money be preserved in some sort of escrow account that can be manipulated for maximum political benefit like the underfunded retirement accounts? Either way it is a loser for the taxpayers.
Presumably, if this “experiment” is successful, all Chicago students well reap the rewards. Students who naturally get A’s simply now get a windfall of money from the cash starved school system and the overburdened taxpayers. This idea generated out of the academia sector of the education industry – specifically the Education Laboratory of Harvard University. In other words, we have a theoretical solution from those who spend their life with theoretical problems. I would be more impressed if Harvard would launch a program to pay there students for good grades. Don’t hold your breathe for that one.
Well, for a while this will produce some faux results, and eventually slip in the recycle bin of history only to be replaced by yet another non-start idea from and industry more interested in the appearance of reform than the reality. Urban education will not improve until we get it out of the hands of the entrenched liberal establishment that sees the primary purpose of education as the perpetuation of their political power.

>LMAO: Chicago cops know what they are talking about.

>Chicago’s requirement that their “men (and women) in blue” must live within the city limits has always generated controversy. Periodically, investigative reports ferret out an officer who lives in the burbs. Sometimes some 59-year-old officer claims his childhood bedroom in his mother’s house as the domcile for him, his wife and their six kids — who, for some reason, all go to school in a gated community about 20 miles from “home.”

Some argue that they should be given higher pay for living in the city because of all those taxes the Mayor has imposed on “the City that works.”

But, I thought one cop’s reason for wanting to live in the burbs says it all. This front-line law enforcement officer does not want to live in the city because … have you guessed? … THERE IS TOO MUCH CRIME.

That says it all.

>FOOTNOTE: No criticism for Mayor Daley

>Little noted in the massive glowing coverage of the Democrat convention was a speech by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. I found his remarks memorable for only one thing he said. Referring to the overall tone of the convention, he said, “We don’t want any criticism.” That is pretty much the way he runs Chicago.

There is no doubt that the latest Daley to rule Chicago wants Barack Obama elected. Seems natural since Obama comes from Illinois. But it is more than favorite son parochialism. It is more than the advantage in procuring those federal funds that comes with having your own President. The biggest benefit, however, is the firing of that pesky reform-minded, highly effective, crusading U.S. Attorney who keeps a rather impressive “to be indicted” list — and many observers think Daley is on it, along with Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Most of the local folks, who watched Obama rise as a machine candidate, without the slightest inclination for reform, expect that once in the White House, he would drop any pretense of reform for politics the way he learned it — the Chicago way.

>FYI: Strongman form of government for Illinois?

>Some things are worth repeating. In jest, political raconteur, Dan Proft, drives home an interesting point. When you consider the corruption of those in power, and the incompetence of those in the lackluster and sometimes TOO loyal opposition, it seems a top to bottom house cleaning is in order. Dan takes the case in the other direction – admit grassroots failure, hire a despot and go golfing. (Oh! I added the photos. The outfit also comes in “short/squatty” to accommodate the typical Illinois politician. You know, in Illinois, if we say a person has “great stature,” we are speaking figuratively). Anyway, here’s Dan’s take on it.

Illinois should go to a military strongman form of government.

Instead of the pretense of representative democracy, we should submit to one of those charismatic, totalitarian dictators with the Captain Kangaroo get-up who makes people disappear.

After all, isn’t that what the “Chicago 9” are doing?

The Chicago 9 are the nine Chicago Democrats who live within about five squares miles of one another and who control more than $70 billion worth of government and more than 125,000 public sector jobs in Illinois.

[The 9: Daley, Blagojevich, (Lisa) Madigan, White, Hynes, Giannoulias, Jones, (Mike) Madigan, Stroger]It was reported last week that the Chicago 9 had made more than 6,000 private sector jobs in Illinois disappear between May and June. Only four states in the nation lost more jobs during that period.

The Chicago 9 have Illinois’ unemployment rate at a robust 6.8%, nearly 25% higher than the national average (5.5%), and at its highest point since June 1993.

As with your old school despots, the Chicago 9 are not fond of dissent and so over the last decade they have created more than 727,000 Illinois refugees who have sought sanctuary for their families and their pocketbooks in other states.

As a result of this mass exodus, Illinois will lose at least one Congressional seat after the electoral remap in 2010. I say, get rid of them all. Who needs a Congressional delegation when we could have a singular Daley or Madigan or Jones or Stroger do everyone’s thinking and deciding for them?

The Chicago 9 have also been quick to recognize that an educated populace is a dangerous populace. Thanks to an effective two-pronged approach consisting of an adroitly engineered brain drain that has made Illinois the 45th ranked state in the nation in terms of attracting college graduates combined with urban school systems run like Stalinist agrarian co-ops, the Chicago 9 have gloriously created the obedient population on which they may feast with impunity.

Give away some state jobs and a few party posts to the useful idiots; buy off the congenitally compliant corporate class with contracts and prestige appointments; and, Presto! no more need for pesky elections.

We Illinoisans have demonstrated the necessary masochistic tendencies to embrace spirit-crushing tyranny.

The last piece to the utopian puzzle is the consolidation of power by the member of the Chicago 9 who possesses the strongest patronage army and the willingness to don the silliest hat–no Generalissimo is complete without their gold-leaf-laden headwear.

It’s time to stop tinkering around with nine potentates and get serious about living our lives under the command control of the most worthy (worthy in a “might makes right” sense, of course) Chicago Democrat.

Let’s do this.

And I say … Amen!

>REACT: Crime and punishment, Chicago style.

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I suspect Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is steaming, as only he can. Seems that the streets of his kingdom have become significantly less safe. Crime has “spiked,” as they say. This means the gang bangers, robbers and rapists are running amok. Public school students are being gunned down at a rate of one a week.

It is sooooo bad that our the ever-grandstanding Governor Rod Blagojevich — sensing a headline — proposed sending in the National Guard and helicopters to police the streets of Chicago, calling the Mayor’s turf “out of control.” Ouch! Double ouch!!

Of course, the Governor got his headline — in fact the entire cover of the Chicago Sun-Times with him caricatured as the quintessential cowboy sheriff. I only hope there were no City Hall staffers within paperweight distance when the morning paper hit the Mayor’s desk.

Already, the new police superintendent, Jody Weis (left), had been brought to the Mayor’s fifth floor City Hall office for a private (leaked to the media) dressing down. He was then dragged before the entire city council for a more public flogging. Maybe the top cop will be the next Daleyite to be tossed under the bus to protect Hizzonor from blame.

Much of the Mayor’s angst has to do with the Olympics. Getting a gold medal for crime is not the way to impress the International Olympic Committee.

In response to the crime wave, Daley resurrects his harangue about gun control. Somehow he cannot get it through his stubborn skull that his version of gun control is not the answer. Has not worked. Will not work. In fact, it may be a part of the problem.

For God sake, there is a total ban on gun ownership in Chicago, except for alderman and criminals. (Am I repeating myself here?) What more can you do? Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court may force the city to restore the constitutional right of self protection in the City of Chicago, where police protection is less than assuring. Repealing the gun ban could do more to reduce crime (and the number of criminals) than wimpy regulation and outraged pronouncements.

Daley is also offering a bounty for guns turned into the city — for pounding into plow shares, I assume. This effort brought in more than 6000 guns in the past (about 10 plow shares worth). But what was he actually gotten off the streets? Broken guns, guns owned by honest citizens who never harmed a soul, stolen guns (yeah, people actually committing a crime to get the bounty), BB and pellet guns and even toy guns. As far as can be determined, it does not appear that the violent crooks (currently busy raising the crime stats) surrendered a single gun.

This year, the program is not going so well. I think it is possible that in view of the Supreme Court decision and the rise in Chicago crime, the people are hanging on to their weapons.

Daley has not figured out that if you cannot disarm the criminals, there is no benefit to disarming the God-fearing public. Maybe if the public had guns, the Governor would not need to send in reinforcements.

>OBSERVATION: Chicago Olympics? Not likely.

>According to the latest reports, of the four finalist cities, Chicago is in third place in public support for the Olympics with a luke warm 74 percent. Madrid takes the gold with 90 percent public support. Rio de Janeiro is second with 77 percent, and Tokyo is out of medal range with an embarrassing 59 percent support. The people of Tokyo hosted a summer Olympics in the past. Should their lack of enthusiasm tell us something?

So far, the Chicago Olympic bid is generating nothing but positive civic booster publicity. So much so, that it is ominous that one-fourth of the public is not enthused. I suspect Rio will boost its ranking and Chicago will slip a bit as some of the downsides and objectors begin to surface.

The two big factors are money and infrastructure. While the Chicago Olympic committee talks about the enormous inflow of case from the quadrennial event, most Chicagoans know that optimistic economic b—s— is the standard in Chicago.

There is the case of the enormous cost overruns for Millennium Park and the short fall in the Grant Park parking garage as a source of funding. One of the major reasons Mayor Daley wants the Chicago Children’s Museum in Grant Park is to shore up the garage revenues – and that probably will be the next disappointment. The foredoomed bottle tax is generating only 25 percent of the revenue the smarty-guy economic forecasters predicted.

It is almost beyond debate that Olympic costs will soar and revenues will fall very short of projections, IF Chicago is selected by the International Olympic Committee. It is the Chicago way.
While much has been said about private sector funding of the Olympic bid, a lot more taxpayer money will be spent than anyone in City Hall will admit. And even the so-called private funding will be provided by CEOs from the corporate treasury – indiscriminately using stockholder money instead of their own. Again, it is the Chicago way.

The lust for the Olympics does not come from grass-level civic pride, but rather from elitist insiders who see the international games as the next cash cow/ego trip. For the Mayor, it is a jewel in the career crown, with tons of dinero to spread around to friends. There are those who will enjoy enormous financial windfalls, and those who will get all the front row seats and headtable assignments — and those who will get both. The only people who will be left out of the goodies are those paying the tab. Taxpayers and corporate shareholders will be footing the bill, but left fighting for a few tickets in the upper decks. The Chicago way.

If I am correct, however, the only money that will be wasted is the taxpayer and shareholder contributions to the Olympic bid effort. There is an overriding reason Chicago will not get the Olympics, in my opinion. It is C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N. The political/business environment of Chicago is just too greedy and crooked to be trusted to handle the Olympics.

Perhaps we locals are used to operating within this culture of corruption, but we cannot expect the OIC to embrace our low standards of public service and political performance. The international folks are not fitted with the same civic blinders that prevent us locals from seeing the corruption and criminality that characterizes our political culture.

As Olympic plans move forward, it is likely that controversy will ensue. Who is getting appointed to what? And why? Wired in contracts. Dislocation of neighborhoods. Disruption and environmental denigration of green space.

There is also the emboldenment of the civic community in response to the increasingly autocratic style of the Mayor. The night time destruction of Meigs and the forced imposition of the Children’s Museum in Grant Park were victories for the Mayor. In their wake, however, there appears to be an anti-Daley coalition forming. Behind closed doors, many civic activists see the sinking of the Mayor’s pet Olympic project as the perfect retribution. Given the natural problems the Chicago bid already faces, it will not take a lot of civic turmoil to scare off the OIC.

There is also the question of “the great uncertainty.” The IOC will make the final decision in 2009, but they must envision the Chicago of 2016. Given the growing financial crises at the city and county levels, and the uncertainty of the power of the historic Democrat machine, there is ever reason to question whether Chicago can provide the longer term stability the IOC would be seeking.

If you have any desire to be in the stands for the 2016 Olympics, I would book a flight to Rio.

>REACT: Children’s museum or mausoleum?

>Even after 9/11, I have not been one to cower in fear. On the other hand, it is prudent to take whatever precautions seem reasonable.

I was reminded of this when officials of the Chicago Children’s Museum announced a new location for the facility. They would move it from Navy Pier to the north edge of Grant Park, near the Harris Theatre and Millennium Park.

Given the congestion in that area, and the Chicago tradition not to clutter the park (as Daniel Burnham advised), my initial reaction was negative. Seems to me that there are a lot better locations for this very excellent museum.

These concerns pale when you consider that the new site is just a bomb’s throw away form the Aon Building – an edifice that law enforcement officials often designate Chicago’s second mostly like terrorist target. The first is the Sears Tower, of course.

Gads! Had those good folks at the Museum even given this a thought? I think not, or the proposed location would have been eliminated at the onset. Fortunately, it is not to late.

I know. I know. The likelihood of a devastating attack on the Aon Building maybe be rather low. Maybe. Not sure how to even calculate that. But, it doesn’t matter. In a worse case scenario, Aon is close enough to come down on the Museum like a sledgehammer. Mayor Daley, himself, believes that section of the city has potential as a terrorist target. He said so when he demolished Meigs Field. Look at how the Aon Building has been fortified and security pumped up dramatically since 9/11. The Aon folks obviously recognize the danger. Since there is no compelling reason to put the Children’s Museum at what could be Chicago’s ground zero, why take any risk at all. Like I said, there are plenty of even better places to put it.

You may recall in my blog item of September 21, 2007, I proposed that the Museum be put on the south end of Grant Park, where there are no serious terrorist targets. But hey, that’s only my opinion. I am sure the Mayor and the people at the Museum can come up with any number of better, and safer, locations than in the shadow of that Aon Building.

Least you think I am making too much of the terrorist thing, let me tell you. My family was living in the Loop on 9/11. I still vividly recall the high anxiety (you might even say terror) my wife and I felt as we raced to retrieve our son from his school near the Sears Tower – even as we listened to news accounts (inaccurate, thank God) of a possible hijacked jet liner flying towards Chicago’s tallest building. It is not the kind of experience one forgets, and I see no reason to put other parents needlessly in that situation – ever.

I hope the good people in charge of relocating the Museum will not be so ego committed to their plan so as to put the children in harm’s way. Chicago’s children need a first-class museum, not a childen’s mausoleum.